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Warning on water safety



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MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS SENATOR MICHAEL TATE MEDIA RELEASE

22 January 1991

WARNING ON WATER SAFETY ,

Parents of young children have received a renewed warning not to rely excessively on children's flotation toys and swimming aids.

The Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, Senator Michael Tate, said that with several weeks still remaining of the Summer school holidays, parents should not ease their vigilance on water safety.

And he pointed out that a safety standard under the Trade Practices Act requires all children's flotation toys and swimming aids to carry warning labels about the need for competent supervision of children in the water.

"Each year we lose a disturbing number of youngsters through drownings; for instance 121 children under 15 drowned in 1988 alone.

"Perhaps a number of these unfortunate deaths could have been avoided if there had been more vigilant supervision of the children in the water," Senator Tate said.

"It is obvious that water is an environment hostile to human life, and that children have less developed judgement than adults.

"I urge parents to pay still greater heed to their children's safety in pools or at the beach," the Minister continued.

"Parents would be very foolish to rely on flotation devices as a guarantee of their children's safety," Senator Tate said.

"The mandatory consumer product safety standard requires that swimming instruction aids have 90 percent plus buoyancy.

"This means that they may assist the user to learn to swim, but that an unsupervsised user may drown," the Minister added.

"Toys remain toys. 1 '

"Flotation toys are as safe in the water as can be reasonably expected from an item purchased for a few dollars."

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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Senator Tate said the warning "Use only under competent supervision" meant just that.

"Competent supervision by adults means close supervision of children, not just the occasional cursory glance over the shoulder at the children in the pool or in the surf."

"All adult Australians need to exercise more responsibility and vigilance in and around the water if we are to reduce the number of these tragic, avoidable deaths," Senator Tate said.

Released by Adrian Wild - (06) 277 7260