Since Christmas Day, four children under five have drowned in NSW. Three died in backyard pools and one in a backyard fish pond. Their names are: Aria Dunn (20-months), Vera Peacock (two years old) and twins Robbie and Charli Manago (23 months).
It’s sad beyond words.
Alison Mahony, Senior Research Officer with Royal Life Saving Australia says we’ve definitely seen a spike in backyard drowning deaths in NSW this summer.
“It’s concentrated over that Christmas/New Year holiday period. A lot of people are off work for Christmas, spending time outdoors and of course it’s school holidays. And over that particular period we saw the number was four or five times higher than the average over the last 10 years, just in NSW.”
Mahony says there are a number of contributing factors to explain the spike.
"I think that we had a period of really hot weather that coincided with that holiday period, but we saw a whole different range of people drowning. We saw quite a lot of toddlers drowning mostly in backyard pools."
Daily Telegraph reporter Kelly Burke has written about the drowning deaths, suggesting some councils have failed to perform random safety checks on pools and that is contributing to the issue. "As many as nine out of 10 backyard swimming pools in Sydney are failing safety inspections, with one council recording a noncompliance rate as high as 98 per cent."
That's nine out of 10 pools failing safety inspections.
Burke writes the information was obtained from "18 councils in the Sydney metropolitan area" and showed some councils prioritising checks and others doing minimal checks.