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.
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.?
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.