Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Mum Despairs That Her Messageisbeingignored; Six Years after Her Daughter Drowned in a Backyard Pool, Katherine Plint's Fight to Save Young Lives Is Stepping Up a Gear

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Mum Despairs That Her Messageisbeingignored; Six Years after Her Daughter Drowned in a Backyard Pool, Katherine Plint's Fight to Save Young Lives Is Stepping Up a Gear

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Foley peter.foley@qt.com.au

KATHERINE Plint is angry. Angry that people aren't listening. Angry that lessons aren't being learned. Angry that people keep drowning.

But Katherine isn't the type of person to just stay angry -- she's going to do something about it.

After Katherine and Andrew Plint's daughter Hannah drowned in the family pool at Laidley in October 2007, they started Hannah's Foundation to raise water safety awareness and to provide support and counselling for drowning victims' families.

But six years on, she's come to a blunt conclusion -- the water safety message isn't getting through.

"As advocates, we're angry and frustrated because people aren't listening," Mrs Plint said.

"I think people have the mentality that it's just not going to happen to them."

Her reaction has been to fight back, get tougher.

"Over the next 12 months our advocacy is going to be a lot harsher to the public -- we will really bring it home," she said.

"I really think if a pool gate is propped open and a child drowns you should be charged.

"If you've got an illegal pool and you fail to fence it and have the knowledge that you're breaking the law and the child drowns, I'll be the first advocating the police to charge them with manslaughter.

"Even my son Harry gets up people in stores when he sees portable pools in their trolley.

"He goes, 'You know that needs a $6000 fence and a certifier to certify that'. And they look at Harry and he goes, 'It's the law'."

Hannah's Foundation is also not afraid to take aim at other drowning awareness groups.

Last week, it issued a statement saying Royal Life Saving Australia had used the wrong terminology regarding inflatable pools.

"We are the most active drowning prevention group in this country," Mrs Plint said. "The advocacy needs to get harsher -- we need to get firmer.

"We don't 'lollypop' drowning and we don't say swimming saves lives because it doesn't. It can, but swimmers drown too.

"The swim to the edge thing isn't working because at the end of the day, kids under four are scared.

"People think because their kid can swim 25m in a pool or blow bubbles and turn around that they're all right and they're not. …

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