The minister for local government and community services, Tony Simpson, is considering a ban on swimming pools at family day care centres after a 2-year-old boy named Lachlan drowned in a Perth suburb earlier this month.
“As the minister responsible for the licensing of child and day care centres in Western Australia, I will do all that I can to ensure that the safety of innocent children attending these premises is the highest priority,” Simpson said.
Lachlan’s parents have since called on the state government to deliver safer environments for children in family day care centres. They have suggested that centres with swimming pools should be assessed as high risk, that there should be stricter guidelines around access to outdoor areas and that the height of pool fences should increase from 1.2 metres to 1.8 metres or more.
Simpson’s department has imposed a new condition on family day cares regarding supervision. If there is a pool on the premises, Simpson said, centres are required to directly supervise children and be in physical proximity to any child near a pool.
“While this may sound like common sense, it is a necessary condition in light of this awful tragedy that has occurred,” Simpson said. “My department will be calling a round table of family day care schemes, educators and parents to discuss safety issues, and whether swimming pools should be allowed at family day care centres will be on the agenda.
“Moreover, this tragedy will be the subject of a coronial inquiry, and there is a separate Ombudsman inquiry into child deaths by drowning,” he said. “I will consider the recommendations of both those inquiries when considering what further changes are required to protect the innocent children attending these premises.”
A spokesperson from Family Day Care Australia said: “Under these tragic circumstances, and in the interest of child safety, any potential review of the guidelines regarding pool safety is an appropriate response.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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