parents

Putting fences around blow-up pools? Shouldn't we just pay attention to our kids?

The paddling pool may be banned in a bid to prevent childhood drownings. How about parents just stepped up to their responsibilities instead?

There is a long hot summer ahead, if the weather forecasters are correct.

And there’s a miserable time predicted for the thousands of parents who turn to the humble blow-up pool to help their kids endure the heat.

Because, if the weekend papers are correct, the Aussie tradition of a backyard slip-n-slide into the blow-up pool might be relegated to our memory banks, along with metal slippery dips and bombing your brother in the backyard pool.

There is a call for paddling pools to be banned from sale.

Because now there is a proposal for a new ban – the humble paddling pool.

Or at least to legislate their demise with a safety group warning portable pools are “more dangerous than permanent pools.”

The group has called for paddling pools to be banned, or for fencing to be required around all portable pools – potentially making my daughter’s slightly mouldy inflatable Dora paddling pool, currently buried under a pile of broken toys in the shed, contraband goods.

It is a legitimate call, with Fairfax Media reporting there are as many as 10 incidents in Australia classified as “non-fatal drownings” in portable pools a year.

But in Australia guidelines already exist for all pools that are capable of being filled with more than 300 millimetres of water to be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a height of 1.2 metres above the ground and there are fines of up to $50,000 for those left unfenced.

Brian Owler, the president of the Australian Medical Association, told Fairfax Media that parents often had a false sense of security with portable pools because they were so easy to buy.

“People think it is just a portable pool, kids can’t drown in them, and people don’t pay as much attention as they do to properly installed pools,” he said.

What Dr Owler forgot to mention is that parents can also be inattentive, selfish jerks.?

Parents can also be inattentive, selfish jerks.

Here’s a suggestion from someone not paid to be a part of an advisory group – and someone without any medical training whatsoever (me).

How’s about parents do a bit of that thing called parenting and actually watch their kids when they are around water? Is that a crazy idea?

And maybe, just maybe they could tip the slimy little things out when their children are finished playing in them so there is no water left to drown in.

Perhaps then we could have less of the health and safety advisory groups banning children’s toys and activities and more actual fun for kids.

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Cartwheels. Sorry nope kids. Banned.

Time and time again we hear of these bans.

No running in playgrounds after child falls and breaks a limb.

Monkey bars banned in schools after parent sues.

Cartwheels banned after P&C complaints.

There is even a whole British town that banned children flying kites. Inspectors from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) banned kite flying in the town of Maiden Bradley after fears that kites could become tangled in the overhead telephone cables and children could hurt themselves if they tried to climb the poles to free them.

It makes you want you scream FREE THE CHILDREN as you run to nearest telegraph pole, cast aside your IPhone and climb to the skies in a parent-led revolution.

Of course I am not downplaying the importance of water safety. It is vitally important to ensure pool safety, to teach beach safety, to monitor children around dams and watercourses but what worries me is this reliance on parents for the authorities to step in and do the ‘parenting’.

What worries me is this reliance on parents for the authorities to step in and do the ‘parenting’.

In 2013 a report released by the Royal Life Saving Society showed a 50% increase in deaths of children under the age of five in waterways, pools and bathtubs in Australia in just one year.

The report citing a lack of adult supervision as the number one issue in these drownings.

Sure, something has to be done and there have been very valid proposals. In 2010, NSW Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon called for  jail time for pool owners who fail to erect compliant fencing.

Negligent parents need to face the consequences of their actions.

But to ban the blow up Barbie pool?

To require fencing around the clam-shaped tub your tot wiggles his toes in on a scorching summer’s day?

Come on parents? Step up.

If we embraced that thing called parental responsibility – our children’s toys will remain toys rather than death traps.

What do you think? Should it be law to put fences around all bodies of water around your home?

Want more?

‘I had a spray tan, and a few hours later I breastfed my little boy.’

“His eyes were bulging wide and screaming help me mum and his mouth was wide open gasping for a breath.”

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