Thousands of backyards across Australia pose a major safety risk this summer with only 55 per cent of pool owners knowing if their pool fence complies with Australian fencing Standards.
Despite 87 per cent of all swimming pool drowning deaths of children under five occurring in backyard pools, more than a third of pool owners claimed they had never checked the safety of their gate and fence, along with 42 per cent unaware of the correct fence safety gate hardware to be utilised.
With more families predicted to be holidaying at home this Christmas, water safety advocate and Check-Your-Pool-Gate-Month ambassador Laurie Lawrence is calling on pool owners to be more diligent and get prepared for the peak swimming season.
"December marks the start of 'Check-Your-Pool-Gate Month' and pool owners very seriously need to take responsibility to ensure a safe swimming environment for their family and friends," he said.
"I find it horrifying that despite 81 per cent of pool owners knowing a faulty, unlatched or propped-open gate was the most common reason a child gained access to a pool area unsupervised, one in five parents still have no idea what to check to ensure their gate and fence are secure!"
Lawrence said pool owners needed to be methodical and consistent about checking pool gate latches and hinges regularly.
"A gate that's not self-closing and self-latching provides instant access for toddlers to the pool area."
Drowning is silent, there is no warning, no screaming. Prevention is the answer and one of the key aspects of that is a safe, correctly fenced and gated pool.Laurie Lawrence
"Learning to swim is the No. 1 drowning prevention method, but world events have stopped that for many families, and unfortunately research from industry body Swim Australia shows 41 per cent of parents have no plans to put their children back into lessons over the next 12 months," Laurie said.
"This is a big red flag for me and means we need to be extra vigilant about the other water safety methods available to us, like a secure gate, fence and constant supervision."
John Clark, technical director of Australian company D&D Technologies, the manufacturer of the MagnaLatch® Pool Gate Safety Latch and TruClose® Safety Gate Hinges, said the company was a long-time partner of Laurie Lawrence's KidsAlive™ Drowning Awareness Campaign and wanted to make sure pools were the fun, safe zone they were designed to be.
"This year we've created a guide called the Sense Of Summer to help families understand what areas they need to check to safeguard their backyards and pool," he said.
"If you haven't thought about it before, 'Check-Your-Pool-Gate Month' is the reminder you need, because as we say - safe gates save lives."
Visit checkyourpoolgate.com to download the Sense Of Summer Guide.