Keep Watch program makes a splash for kids’ safety

Keep Watch program @ Newmarket Olympic Swimming Pool

With summer in full swing, one of the favourite ways for Brisbane kids and parents to cool down is by taking a refreshing swim and splash.

Many families choose to head to one of Brisbane City Council’s 22 pools; with features that can include aquatic playgrounds, slides, BBQs and kiosks, they are an affordable and convenient day out.

But this fun summer activity can turn deadly in seconds: drowning is one of the most common causes of death for children aged 0-4.

To ensure the safety of kids, all BCC pools are participating venues of the Royal Life Saving Queensland’s Keep Watch program at public pools.

Keep Watch program at public pools

Keep Watch @ Public Pools Program

The Keep Watch program is focused on preventing drowning deaths in children aged under 5, no matter whether they are swimming in a pool, at the beach or just near water such as a bath.

Its Public Pools program aims to eliminate all deaths from drowning at council pools, and reduce the number of near-drowning incidents.

Royal Life Saving Queensland provides guidelines for pools to follow to make them as safe as possible for swimmers. In return, parents and guardians must increase our kids’ water safety through active supervision.

Keep Watch program at public pools

What is active supervision?

The minimum parents or guardians need to do to actively supervise their children depends on the age of the kids:

0-5 years and non-swimmers – You must be in the water with your child at all times, and always within arm’s reach of them. Ideally, you’ll be interacting with your child, not just standing next to them.

6-10 years – At this age, you don’t necessarily need to be in the pool with your kid, but you must be prepared to enter the water if needed. We all know that life with kids is busy, and when they’re occupied in a pool, it can be tempting to take advantage of the break to duck to the kiosk to grab a coffee or to check your phone. But 6-10 year olds still require active supervision, meaning you must have constant visual contact with your child. Remember, a drowning child probably won’t be able to call for help and wave their arms to get your attention, so you need to keep watch at all times.

Don’t let older children supervise kids aged 10 or under. Any supervision must be done by someone aged 16 or above.

11-14 years – Kids in this age group are much more independent than younger children, but they are still at risk. You should still regularly check on your child by physically going to where they are swimming.

Keep Watch program at public pools

Council pools in Brisbane

Brisbane City Council operates 22 pools across the city with a range of facilities. All Council pools honour the Queensland Government Companion Card, allowing free entry for carers of people with a disability that requires attendant support.

To find your closest council pool and check what facilities are on offer, visit

Brisbane Kids has reviewed some of the best public pools in Brisbane. You can find a full list, along with detailed reviews here.

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