WA investigation into childhood drownings

SPASA Western Australia

Monday, 27 November, 2017


Adobestock 74956366

The Western Australian Ombudsman has tabled his report in parliament investigating ways to prevent or reduce deaths of children by drowning, according to the latest SPASA WA member bulletin. Of the child death notifications received by the Ombudsman since commencing the child death review responsibility, 42 have been deaths of children by drowning.

The Ombudsman collected and analysed de-identified information regarding the number of children admitted to a hospital or who attended an emergency department at a hospital following a non-fatal drowning incident. The Ombudsman has found that a range of work has been undertaken by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and the Building Commissioner to administer their respective responsibilities in relation to swimming pool safety. The Ombudsman also found that there is important further work that should be done. This work is detailed in the findings of the report. It will be critical that this work is undertaken with strong cooperation between the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, the Building Commissioner, local governments and other key stakeholders — this is the most efficient and effective way to achieve positive change.

Arising from the findings, the Ombudsmen has made 25 recommendations about ways to prevent or reduce deaths of children by drowning, and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and the Building Commissioner have agreed to these recommendations.

SPASA WA will be meeting with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and the Building Commissioner and discussing the implications that the recommendations have on its members over the coming weeks.

If you have any feedback, do not hesitate to email SPASA WA Executive Officer Bryce Steele here.

You can view the full 198-page report here.

Image credit: © stock.adobe.com.au/Dominique Ducouret

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