Water safety

June | 2020

Approved providers have a legal duty to protect children from foreseeable risk of harm, injury and illness. Extra diligence is required by educators to ensure children are closely supervised when they are in or near water.

This fact sheet includes water safety tips and links to useful information.

Water-safety policies and procedures

Education and care services must have policies and procedures in place for water safety, including safety during any water-based activities (r. 168 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations).

For further Information, see our Creating policies and procedures fact sheet.

Risk assessment

Education and care services are required to undertake risk assessments for all environments where education and care is provided to children. This includes environments during excursions or routine outings. For further information, see our Excursions fact sheet.

Drowning hazards

There are many drowning hazards for children around home and other environments. Swimming pools (and toddler pools), spas, bathtubs, rivers, creeks, oceans, dams and lakes are some of the more obvious ones. However, there are less obvious drowning hazards, such as:

  • nappy (and other) buckets
  • washing machines
  • toilets
  • water tanks
  • water features
  • fish ponds
  • aquariums and fishbowls
  • pets’ water bowls
  • eskies.

Tips for water safety indoors

  • Ensure that an adult always stays within an arm’s reach of a child when he or she is in or near pools, spas, bathtubs, toilets or buckets.
  • Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep doors to the laundry and kitchen area closed when unattended by adults.
  • Close top-loading washing machines.
  • Ensure bathroom areas are supervised when in use by children.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bath or around any other body of water.
  • Never leave a child alone or in the care of older children when around equipment used to store water (such as water play troughs).

Tips for water safety outdoors

  • Always ensure that an adult is directly supervising children engaged in any water play and is within an arm’s reach of a child when he or she is in or near water.
  • Ensure that pool gates and fences are secure and in working order.
  • Ensure gates are self-closing and self-latching, and the latch is out of children’s reach.
  • Regularly maintain and inspect pools to ensure they are safe.
  • Empty any water container immediately after use by children (such as water play troughs).
  • Take extra care when there is water nearby an excursion location, e.g. near a pond or creek.

Further information

Contact details

Education Standards Board
Phone: (08) 8226 0077 or 1800 882 413
Email: educationstandardsboard [at] sa.gov.au

This fact sheet provides guidance for approved providers of education and care services to help them operate in line with the National Quality Framework. We also recommend referring directly to the legislation: