Watch Around Water FAQ | PARC Frankston
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Aquatic Supervision

New Supervision Guidelines Launching September 1 Watch Around Water is a public awareness raising program to address the growing concern of supervision of young children at public swimming […]

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Watch Around Water FAQ

Watch Around Water FAQ

What is Watch around Water?

Watch Around Water (WAW) is a campaign educating the public about active supervision and encouraging parents / guardians to take on the responsibility of this role while visiting aquatic facilities.

How long has Watch Around Water been around for?

Watch Around Water (WAW) was developed in Western Australia by the Leisure Institute of Western Australia (LIWA) and Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) and has been running for 9 years. In Victoria, the program is managed by Life Saving Victoria (LSV) and has been running for 6 years.

Why was WAW developed?

Drowning and water related injuries represent a real problem for the aquatics industry – especially those involving young children. The program has been developed for the industry by the industry. The aquatics industry has long recognised the value of a program that improves facility safety through encouraging parents to adopt greater responsibility for the supervision of their children and educating parents about appropriate supervision.

Why is my facility implementing this program?

Even though your facility may have not had any fatal or non-fatal drowning deaths in the past, it is important that adequate levels of supervision are practiced to demonstrate duty of care and due diligence. The consequences of a fatal drowning death are significant and it is widely accepted that prevention is better that cure.

Why is it important for me to worry about supervision issues if I am not a lifeguard?

It is important to remember that Watch Around Water is unlikely to work if it is just left to the pool lifeguards. A contribution from all staff will ensure that the program is adequately accepted throughout the facility. Every staff member must ensure that the program policies are being met by parents / guardians.

My child is a competent swimmer. Why do I need to be in the water with them?

It is not only about swimming ability, it is also a safety issue. If a child gets hurt, a parent or guardian within close vicinity can act on the incident immediately, thereby preventing any further complications. It is very easy for young children who are good swimmers to get out of their depth or become tired, making it difficult for them to get back to the edge and often causing children to panic.

I will jump in if I need to, but I do not want to enter the water.

This has become a condition of entry. If you do not comply with the conditions of entry you are welcome to go to reception for a refund on your entry fee.

My toddler is in the toddler pool. Do I need to wear bathers?

No. If you to have your shoes off, pants rolled up and are prepared to get wet, this is ok.  You must be within arm’s reach and ready to respond if something happens to your child in the water.

Can I read a book or use my phone while watching my child?

No. It is important to remember that active supervision is about constantly watching and always having a clear view of your child. Remember, it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown, so an incident may easily occur during a short lapse in supervision.

Is this legislation?

No. It is a framework and set of guidelines as well as a condition of entry.

I am only just ducking off to grab a coffee or go to the toilet. Why is that an issue?

As stated previously, it is important to remember that active supervision is about constantly watching and always having a clear view of your child. Remember, it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown, so an incident may easily occur during a short lapse in supervision.

My child is having lessons. Do I need to pay if I am going for a swim after the lesson?

1 parent or guardian has free entry with a child in swim lessons.

My child has swimming lessons, do the guidelines apply?

Yes.  Parents/guardians must handover the child to the teacher at the start of the lesson, actively supervise your child’s swimming lesson if they are in the leisure pool and must be a handover from the teacher to the parent/ guardian at the end of the lesson.

It is culturally inappropriate for me to enter the water due to my religion. Can my child under 5 swim alone?

All children under 5 must have a parent or guardian within arm’s reach at all times. If the child is in the water the parent must be too.

What is the supervision requirements for children under 5 years?

The under 5 years supervision requirement of ‘within arm’s reach’ has been based on a number of factors. Children under 5 years are most at risk of fatal and non-fatal drowning, with drowning the number one accidental cause of death of children in this age group. This is also in line with research and best practice that has been used for over 15 years in other supervision messaging. Children under 5 years lack the physical and mental capabilities to discern danger and get themselves out of trouble when in the water and therefore require close supervision. The Coroner has highlighted the importance of close supervision in children in this age group, as supervision is the main contributor to children under 5 years drowning.

Children under 5 MUST wear a yellow wristband from PARC staff to help identify their age while swimming.

What does ‘within arm’s reach’ mean?

This term has been used for many years in relation to toddler supervision when in or around water. While this does not literally mean that a parent / guardian must be an arm’s length away from a young child at all times, it refers to them being able to respond and react immediately should something happen to the child. This still allows children to swim and play but ensures that parents are actively supervising and able to intervene if the young child gets into trouble. Remember, it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown.

What are the guidelines for Watch Around Water?

There are two key supervision guidelines: one for children under 5 (0-4 years), and under 10 (5-9 years).
Under 5: Children must be constantly supervised and to remain within arm’s reach of a parent or guardian. (If the child is in the water, the parent or guardian must be in the water too).
Under 10: Children must be accompanied into the facility and constantly supervised by a parent / guardian. The parent / guardian must have clear, constant and direct access to the child at all times.

My child is a competent swimmer. Why do I need to be in the water with them?

It is not only about swimming ability, it is also a safety issue. If a child gets hurt, a parent or guardian within close vicinity can act on the incident immediately, thereby preventing any further complications. It is very easy for young children who are good swimmers to get out of their depth or become tired, making it difficult for them to get back to the edge and often causing children to panic.

What is the supervision requirements for children under 10 years?

The current industry provisions for supervision standards are from the Royal Life Saving Society’s Guidelines for Safe Pool Operation (GSPO) which state supervision requirements such as children under 10 years will not be admitted without an appropriate guardian 18 years or older and children under 10 years should be actively supervised by a parent / guardian at all times. The Watch Around Water policies sit in line with this as it is currently accepted across the industry.

Children under 10 MUST wear a green wristband from PARC staff to help identify their age while swimming.

What are the guidelines for Watch Around Water?

There are two key supervision guidelines: one for children under 5 (0-4 years), and under 10 (5-9 years).
Under 5: Children must be constantly supervised and to remain within arm’s reach of a parent or guardian. (If the child is in the water, the parent or guardian must be in the water too).
Under 10: Children must be accompanied into the facility and constantly supervised by a parent / guardian. The parent / guardian must have clear, constant and direct access to the child at all times.

My child is a competent swimmer. Why do I need to be in the water with them?

It is not only about swimming ability, it is also a safety issue. If a child gets hurt, a parent or guardian within close vicinity can act on the incident immediately, thereby preventing any further complications. It is very easy for young children who are good swimmers to get out of their depth or become tired, making it difficult for them to get back to the edge and often causing children to panic.

What is the supervision requirements for children under 13 years?

All children under 13 must be accompanied into the Centre by an adult who shall remain accessible and who regularly checks on the child.

Children under 13 MUST wear a purple wristband from PARC staff to help identify their age while swimming.

What are the guidelines for Watch Around Water?

There are two key supervision guidelines: one for children under 5 (0-4 years), and under 10 (5-9 years).
Under 5: Children must be constantly supervised and to remain within arm’s reach of a parent or guardian. (If the child is in the water, the parent or guardian must be in the water too).
Under 10: Children must be accompanied into the facility and constantly supervised by a parent / guardian. The parent / guardian must have clear, constant and direct access to the child at all times.

My child is a competent swimmer. Why do I need to be in the water with them?

It is not only about swimming ability, it is also a safety issue. If a child gets hurt, a parent or guardian within close vicinity can act on the incident immediately, thereby preventing any further complications. It is very easy for young children who are good swimmers to get out of their depth or become tired, making it difficult for them to get back to the edge and often causing children to panic.