What about pools and ponds and keeping them child safe?
While children love the water, it is one of Australia’s leading causes of death in young children. But if you think because your properties don’t have pools in the common area you don’t need to worry, think again. Even small bodies of water can pose a serious risk to young children. It has happened that children have drowned in the family pet’s dog bowl! So that attractive water feature that the residents love is as much of a potential risk, if not protected, as the swimming pool. When it comes to ponds, make sure there is a barrier to prevent small children accessing the water. You can’t actively supervise all the children who come through the properties you manage, but you can make sure you remove some of the serious risks to help prevent a tragedy. By law pools need to be fenced and secured. However, the pool fence and latch should also be regularly inspected. Getting an expert in to check the health of the fence doesn’t cost much but it can alert you to problems that aren’t obvious. Small children are curious; if the gate’s self-closing and self-latching mechanism has rusted, or if a paling is loose, they’ll find it. The other major issue is what you have around the fence. Of course owners want the property to be well landscaped, but trellis, pot plants, garden furniture and rocks can provide great footholds for children who are keen to get into the water. Just like balconies, all these items need to be moved away from near the fence. Light-weight garden furniture should be secured to the ground to make sure children can’t drag it closer. Make sure the pool has a current, legible cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) poster within easy eyesight of the water. Should the worst happen, giving people access to that information could literally make the difference between life and death. Resources – Kids Health: the health promotion unit of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, NSW, offers brochures, fact sheets and posters on child safety in residential buildings. Ref: Strata Community Aust.