Water safety advocacy and campaigns

NSW Study of Drowning and Near Drowning in Children (0-16 years) 


Between 2013 to 2018, the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in collaboration with the John Hunter Children’s Hospital conducted a five year study to examine admissions and presentations for non-fatal drowning to the three paediatric tertiary hospitals in New South Wales.

The findings of this study reconfirm what is already known about drowning in children: that children under five years are at the greatest risk of drowning; that they are most likely to drown in a home swimming pool or bath and that children who are unsupervised are more likely to drown than children who are closely and actively supervised while in or near water.

An interim report and safety video were produced in 2015 and are available in the downloads section below.

The final report has now been published. It shows that supervision, effective pool barriers, learning swimming skills and learning resuscitation skills remain the key child drowning prevention strategies. Access the 2018 final report and the infographics poster from the downloads section below.

Kids Can Drown Without a Sound

The portable pool safety campaign titled “Kids Can Drown Without a Sound” is based on focus group feedback to raise awareness of the safety issues associated with portable swimming pools and the legal requirement for fencing to English and non-English speaking community groups.

The focus groups were conducted to ensure the resources were relevant, understood and culturally appropriate. The resources were translated by NAATI accredited translators and promoted state-wide to non-English speaking groups through paid media, resource distribution to local councils, community health centres and Medicare Locals, promoted to key stakeholders and distributed through the Kids Health website.

The final report of the 2012-13 campaign, including further information on the issues with inflatable and portable swimming pools is available under ‘Downloads’ below.

Protect your pool, Protect your Kids campaign

The Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids video was created by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) in collaboration with The Samuel Morris Foundation and The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of NSW (SPASA NSW), to highlight the importance of pool fencing maintenance and the vital role it plays in preventing drowning or near-drowning incidents.

This video educates pool owners on what they should know about pool fencing and the common faults so they can determine whether their pool fence is safe and compliant with the legislation.

The secondary aim of the campaign was to promote the importance of supervision, CPR and water familiarisation in preventing drowning or near-drowning incidents among young children.

Posters and flyers promoting the video were developed and disseminated to community health centres, local councils and SPASA members in NSW. A PDF of the poster, flyer and checklist is also available on the Swimming Pool Fencing page and hard copies are available free of charge here.

Swimming Pool Safety Symposium

On 27 October 2014, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead hosted a Swimming Pool Safety Symposium to look at the issue of child drowning and near-drowning in private swimming pools in NSW.

The Swimming Pool Safety Symposium Final Report is available in the downloads section and includes detailed information on the presentations and key points of the open discussion.