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222 tragic reasons to watch kids more closely once they turn one


Parents are being urged to be extra careful around pools when their kids turn one, with a study finding it to be the most dangerous age for drowning.

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During the past 20 years, 222 one-year-olds have drowned, representing about 40 per cent of all drowning deaths for children under the age of five.

“As children become more mobile, they are curious and unpredictable,” Royal Life Saving Australia chief executive Justin Scarr said.

“It is vital you keep constant watch and restrict access to water around the home.”

The figures revealed in research by Royal Life Saving come at a key time for drowning risk as summer approaches and Australians spend more time by the water.

Two out of five drowning deaths occur between December and February, the study found.

A total of 549 children under five lost their lives in a swimming pool between 2002 and 2022, with 85 per cent of deaths occurring in a backyard pool.

Drowning is a quick and silent killer, but it can be prevented.

Drowning rates have decreased 60 per cent during the past 20 years because of regulations around pool fencing and growing awareness of the need for kids to be supervised around pools.

But it is still one of the leading causes of death among children under five, with 27 deaths per year on average.

Mr Scarr urged parents to supervise children around water, restrict access to water, teach children water safety skills and learn how to respond in the case of an emergency.

“This is the time of year to check your pool fence and gate,” he said.

A correctly installed fence can prevent children from drowning, Mr Scarr said, and reminded parents never to prop open pool gates for any reason.

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