Parents are being urged to keep a closer eye on their children while swimming at public pools after a report found a lack of adult supervision was to blame for many drowning deaths.
A new report by the Royal Life Saving Society Australia found that about a fifth of the 36 people who drowned in public and commercial pools were children aged between five and nine.
Adult or carer supervision had lapsed in 86 per cent of the cases of fatal drownings among children.
“Safety should always be a top priority around water,” the society’s chief executive Justin Scarr said.
“Parents and carers must actively supervise their children around water, even if lifeguards are present.”
Overall, 78 people drowned at public swimming pools over the decade to June 2015.
Of those, 36 people died at public pools and aquatic centres as well as those in schools and fitness centres.
The other 42 deaths occurred at communal pools such as those available at hotels, apartment complexes and retirement villages.
More than 360 people needed to be taken to hospital after getting into strife in swimming pools.
As well as a lack of adult supervision, other risk factors linked to the drownings included pre-existing medical conditions, and a lack of swimming ability and water safety knowledge.
Alcohol consumption was also a key risk factor for drownings in communal pools, with drinking having played a part in 21 per cent of those deaths.