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Watch Around Water

Watch Around Water

To help address the concern regarding the supervision of children at public aquatic facilities, Active Monash has implemented the ‘Watch Around Water’ program.  This has been developed by Aquatics & Recreation Victoria and Life Saving Victoria to educate the public about adequate supervision and to encourage parent/guardians to take on this responsibility when visiting a public aquatic facility.

Children need supervision! Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children under five years of age and almost half of all injuries recorded at public swimming pools involves children. Watch Around Water assists aquatic staff to promote safe supervision practices and provide a safe venue for the community to participate in sport and recreation.

Please observe and follow the Watch Around Water policies below when visiting an Active Monash Centre:

Children under 5 years old

  • Children under 5 years old must be constantly supervised by a parent/guardian.
  • Adequate supervision requires the parent/guardian to accompany the child in the water and remain within arm's reach of the child at all times.

Children under 10 years old

  • Children under 10 years old will not be admitted without an appropriate parent/guardian. The parent guardian must be 16 years and over and adhere to all conditions of entry.
  • Children under 10 years old must be constantly supervised by a parent/guardian while in the aquatic area of the centre.
  • The parent/guardian must position himself or herself to have a clear view of the child with no physical or structural barriers between them and the child.
  • Children 5-9 years old will be issued with a wristband upon entry.  This wristband must be worn whilst in the centre. Children participating in structured lessons/programs under the supervision of an instructor/coach will not be required to wear a wristband.

Children 10 years and older

  • For children 10 years and older, parents must use their knowledge of the child's swimming ability to determine the level of accompaniment required.
  • Parent/guardians are not required to be present in the centre.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below you will find our most commonly asked questions about Minky's Swim School:

What is Watch around Water?
It is a set of guidelines supported by two of Victoria’s largest Aquatic bodies, Aquatic Recreation Victoria and Life Saving Victoria. The guidelines are designed to reduce the incidence of fatal and non-fatal drowning and injuries in public aquatic environments. All facilities accredited as Watch Around Water (WAW) pools must abide by a set of standard guidelines.

What are the guidelines for Watch Around Water?
There are two key supervision guidelines: one for children under 5 (0-4 years), and those under 10 (5-9 years).
  • - Under 5: Children must be constantly supervised and are 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 constantly supervised without any physical or structural barriers, and must be within an appropriate viewing distance and be wearing a ‘Watch Around Water’ yellow wristband.

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 have your shoes off, pants rolled up and are prepared to get wet, this is ok. You must be ready to respond if something happens to your child in the water. As deep as the child is in the water, you must also be.

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.

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

My child is having lessons. Do I need to pay if I am going for a swim after the lesson?
If your child is under 5 years, you can use the pool for free after their lesson so they can practice the skills they have just learnt. If your child is over 5 years you will be required to pay as you are not be required to be in the water, but still need to actively supervise from pool side.

My child has swimming lessons, do the guidelines apply?
Individual facilities should determine and document their parental supervision expectations for when young children are taking part in swimming lessons. This internal policy should be clearly advised to parents / guardians and subsequently enforced. There should be a particular focus on the handover process before and after lessons.

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. Your child will only be allowed to swim in the toddler pool, and you must have your shoes off and be prepared to get wet if anything happens to your child in that pool. As deep as the child is in the water, you must also be. If your child would like to swim in the learner pool or 25m pool, you will need to bring another adult that is able to swim.

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Last updated: 21 June 2017