ALLISON Cunningham was relaxing in her backyard when she saw her two young sons do something no parent ever wants to witness.

The Mackay mum caught her boys, Zander, 5, and Levi, 3, working as a team to open the gate to the family's backyard swimming pool.

It took Zander less than 10 seconds to pull himself up to the top of the fence and lift the latch allowing Levi to pull open the gate.

Zander and Levi Cunningham show how easy it is to get into their pool area.
Zander and Levi Cunningham show how easy it is to get into their pool area. Tony Martin

If Allison hadn't seen them, another few seconds and the pair could have been in the water. Another two minutes and they could have drowned.

With drowning the biggest cause of accidental death in children under five in Australia, Allison was horrified. "It was a bit of a reality check. We have a pool fence but it's clearly nothing for them to get over it," Allison said.

"I didn't see them brainstorm it and I think that's the thing with kids, they don't see it as a challenge, they don't even think about it. They just see the obstacle and brainstorm a way to get over it easily."

Seeing a chance to make other parents aware, Allison and her boys renacted the scenario and made a video.

"The message that I'm trying to send is having a pool fence doesn't automatically mean your kids are safe," she said.

"Parents can't be everywhere at once so it's just being aware of where your kids are in the yard and trying to educate them in a way that they know it's not the right thing to do.

As a mother, pool safety is always front of mind for Allison, but it is also a large part of her working life as the director and principal of Mackay's Pinpoint Property.

Tenants erecting temporary pools in summer without a compliant fence was a constant, major issue, she said.

"A lot our tenants will put up temporary pools in summer and we do inspections and tell them they have to take it down or go and get a safety fence, get it compliant and have the certificate," she said.

"A lot of people don't realise that. It doesn't matter if its only a temporary pool.

"For those that have have permanent pools, it's a massive responsibility that we have to set up tasks to ensure all certificates are in date and current. What people don't understand is that those certificates are current for two years but a neighbour could build something beside their fence that is climbable and all of a sudden that certificate is not compliant any more.

"People need to be aware of their responsibilities if they have a pool. If a neighbours child climbs the fence and drowns, unfortunately that is the responsibility of the pool owner no matter how unfair that might sound."

The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2017 revealed 291 people drowned in Australian waterway between July 1 2016 - June 30, 2017. It is estimated there were a further 685 non-fatal drowning incidents resulting in hospitalisation during the same period.

Drowning deaths in children under five increased by 32% on the number of deaths last year with swimming pools the most common location.

Learn2Swim week began Saturday.

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