Lifeguards send strong message after near-drownings

LIFEGUARDS at Orion Lagoon have spoken out about the complacent attitude from some parents which forced council to come out yesterday with a warning on supervision.

Just Sports (Australian Crawl) duty manager Stacey Renehan said although the lagoon itself had one of the safest designs and a strong lifeguard presence, cases where there was a lack of supervision were a concern.

"I pulled two young boys out on Sunday. They were definitely out of their depth," she said. "They were very upset, I had one on each hip. I calmed them down, took them to mum and dad. Dad laughed.

"Parents think that their children can do something that they are not capable of. Expectations on their own children's abilities is a big one. They might be able to paddle around but they can't swim to save their own life.

"We have it constantly. I had a mum going up to have a coffee . She said her son was fine and as she turned her back, her son fell over.

"I understand you have come down for a coffee as well, but you do need to supervise those children."

While other water facilities display signs on requirements for adult supervision, Orion Lagoon is one of the few facilities to enforce the rule, ordering unsupervised children out of the water.

As reported in yesterday's QT, council's review of the first month of operation at Orion Lagoon revealed three to four incidents a day where a lifeguard has had to intervene.

Mayor Paul Pisasale recalled an experience when he pulled his then young son from a pool and urged parents to take greater care.

"We just turned our back for one second and he was in the pool," he said.

"I'll never forget when I had to swim towards him and his eyes were looking at me. I'll never forget that look til the day I die and I felt guilty because of that one second.

"It can happen to anyone.

"I don't want to have a death on our hands.

"Please, when young kids are close to water they need direct supervision by parents or guardians.

"People go down and see it as a recreation facility, sit back, read a book and let the kids play in the water.

"It can't be treated like that, especially when you've got a lot of people, because kids get lost in it."

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