EDITORIAL: How far do we go to stop drownings?

THERE was some vigorous debate in this office yesterday morning when the often fraught subject of child drownings surfaced.

Pool safety has come an awfully long way in the past few decades.

Even I was a bit surprised when I had a look back at the history of pool safety laws in Queensland, and found it was only in 1979 that any sort of standard was applied to pool fencing.

Since then there has been a steady progression in the severity of the rules that apply.

The reasons for this progression need little in the way of explanation; every year young children die as a result of drowning in a backyard pool.

In Queensland, five children died in the financial year 2014-15, an increase on the previous year.

There is no argument that something must be done to address this.

The question is. . how far do you take fencing regulations, especially when we keep hearing children are drowning as a result of gates being propped open?

The adult supervision aspect to this problem is the elephant in the room.

Have we got to the point where we must apply criminal charges to people who have the misfortune of losing a child during a moment of inattention?

Personally, I would like to see a world where this sort of measure is not deemed necessary in order to prevent child drowning deaths.


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