story, by Kym Patricia Coon - 17th April 2008
Sunday 13th January 2008 a beautiful 3yr old little
boy was playing in the family pool with his younger
brother and Mum in Wellington, country NSW.
It was a very hot day and Julian was investigating
the insects and leaves that floated in and out
of the pools’ skimmer box, as he had done
many times before. The skimmer box is at water
level on the side of the pool and is connected
to the pools’ filter system.
an instant, Julian had sat on the skimmer box
and he was partially sucked in, forming an airtight
seal. As a result of the pools’ filter still
trying to pump, he was disembowelled. In one brief
moment, Julians’ life had changed, as had
the lives of his mum, dad and brother.
hours of the accident, Julian was flown to Westmead
Childrens’ Hospital in Sydney and his bowel
was replaced inside him. The four and a half months
spent in hospital were at times heart-breaking,
he was on a feeding tube for 3 months, battled
many infections and underwent 10 operations.
local support of the Wellington and Dubbo community
was a great strength to the family at this difficult
time. Comobella Playgroup, of which Julian was
a part, prepared homemade meals for Julians mum,
dad and brother whilst in hospital.
Fundraising events, ‘A day in the Park for
Julian’ & ‘Monster Auction for
Julian’ raised over $25,000 for the family.
this horrific accident many people have approached
me with terrible stories involving older style
pool filters – which I’ve come to
learn even had the name ‘potty-style’
skimmer box. I have also heard cases of tragedy
and serious injury involving spa filters, with
long hair becoming caught and sucking the childs’
head under the water, resulting in drowning, scalping
or serious injury. Although these ‘potty
style’ skimmer boxes have been banned from
sale for many years, they still exist in some
pools. Please check your pool, your friends’
pool or any pool you and your children use. If
you have this style of skimmer box remove it or
have it altered to prevent the child sitting in/on
it. Locate the switches and turn off the pool
filters whenever people are swimming in the pool.
is little information about this danger to be
found. As tragic as it is, I feel it important
to share this story with as many people as possible.
I do not want to sensationalise Julians story,
goodness knows he and his family have been through
enough. I do not wish to raise hysteria to swimming
pools. But I do want to share this story in the
hope that no other child or family will have to
go through such trauma and pain.
intention is to raise awareness to the potential
hazards involving pools and spas.
It is only through education and awareness that
we can understand these risks and what to do about
them. We can make a difference.
support ‘Walk for Julian’ on Sunday
20th July 2008. A 45k Walk from Dubbo to Wellington
symbolizing taking baby steps forward with courage,
patience and inner strength. The path ahead is
not always smooth or easy, but with support, unity
and compassion we can achieve great things together.
By Julians’ aunty Kym
and Community Entrepreneurs
TV - The 7.30 Report - Pool safety feature - 30th
Unite official website
in park music to ears of toddler’s family
- 11th March 2008
Julian battles on - 14th February 2008