Sydney pool chemical spill during swimming lesson sparks call for safety review



December 04, 2018 15:00:33

The mother of a 15-month-old baby hospitalised after a chemical spill at a Sydney public pool has called for the council to review staff training and procedures, after children were left coughing and vomiting following exposure to toxic gas.

Fourteen people, including babies, were treated after a lifeguard tipped chemicals into the Wollondilly Leisure Centre pool south-west of Sydney yesterday after a report of faecal matter in the water.

Mother Jayde Todd, 24, said her daughter Wynter Gordon was taken to Campbelltown Hospital and needed oxygen to help her breathe following the incident.

She said Wynter’s heart rate climbed to 220 beats per minute, and her oxygen levels dropped.

The hospital found she had a gas bubble in her stomach, and she needed a nasal tube down her throat to relieve the pressure on her abdomen.

Ms Todd said doctors were not sure whether the chemical exposure caused the gas bubble or if it was linked to Wynter crying and working herself up, and the vomiting following exposure.

Hospital staff spent the night fighting to get her temperature down from a spike of 39.3 degrees Celsius, and Ms Todd said she would likely spend another night in hospital.

Ms Todd said Wynter had been diagnosed with pneumonitis, or inflammation in her lungs.

She said most of the other children appeared worse-off than Wynter when they first climbed out of the pool.

“They were jumping in and as they were taking their gasps of air, just inhaling the chemical, they were climbing out of the pool coughing … they were rushed outside for fresh air and they were vomiting and they were going green,” Ms Todd said.

She called on the council to review the procedures in place for handling chemicals and reacting when exposure occurred.

“I’m a bit worried they didn’t have proper training for someone handling chemicals, especially putting it in when children were still in the pool, babies were still in the pool,” Ms Todd said.

“We weren’t necessarily [rushed] out of the pool straight away, we were just told to go to the other end of the pool. Then when we saw everyone jumping out we were like, ‘Maybe we should … leave’.

“I’ve read a lot of news articles and they’ve kind of hush-hushed it, all the children have gone home, you know, everyone’s fine, and nothing severe, whereas Wynter might be spending her second night in hospital.”

Wollondilly Council, which owns the pool, has been contacted for comment.

The ABC understands the pool is operated by a contractor to the council.






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