The NSW Deputy State Coroner, Paul McMahon has again issued recommendations calling on the NSW Government to toughen pool safety laws following another inquest into the death of a toddler in a backyard pool.
Coroner McMahon was conducting the inquest into the death of Ethan Corless who had gained access to the swimming pool through by squeezing through holes in the fence. A fence that had not been properly constructed, did not comply with existing laws and had never been inspected by Council. Sadly stories like Ethan’s remain far too common. In fact in NSW an average of 10 children aged 0-4 lose their life to drowning and at least another sixty children are admitted to hospital and almost one quarter of these will experience a brain injury that leaves them with a disability for life.
Coroner McMahon has called on the Government to implement statewide rules giving home owners three years to ensure their pools comply with current laws, to require a swimming pool register and mandatory inspections every two years, and to implement substantial penalties if they fail to comply. Mr MacMahon said pool fencing was an essential “second line of defence” for those times when parental supervision of young children broke down, “No child can be supervised at all times and that is why pools are required to be fenced,I think it’s imperative on the part of government that action be taken to ensure compliance.”
The Samuel Morris Foundation supports the recommendations of Coroner McMahon and notes that he has made these recommendations a number of times, but the NSW Government has not acted on them, however with a new Government in place in NSW we hope that we will see some action on the Coroners recommendations.
The Samuel Morris Foundation has written to the Premier and all of the relevant ministers highlighting the repeated calls for action by the NSW Coroner and urging them to take action to implement the recommended changes. We have also reminded them that we remain available to meet them to provide them with detailed briefings and to assist in implementing the necessary changes.
You can take action!
If you think that the Coroners recommendations should be implemented then join us in asking your local representative to advocate for these changes in parliament. Find the contact details here for all of the NSW Government Ministers, or find the contact details for your local member. Send them an email telling them that you are disgusted by the continued loss of life and number of children left disabled by near drowning and that it is time for the NSW Government to act and change the law.