Swimming Pool Safety
The consequences of a small child being able to enter your pool enclosure through a gap in a fence are often tragic and can be prevented by simply taking a few easy measures. More than half of all the children under five years old who drowned in Australia last year died in backyard pools, often because the fence gate wasn't properly secured or toddlers were able to find a way through gaps that emerge as a result of wear- and- tear that home owners either hadn't noticed or had put off repairing.
A special pool safety checklist has been set up by Royal Life Saving for anyone in Australia to download. The checklist urges people to check swimming pool gates, swimming pool fences as well as looking at issues like chemicals around pools, supervision issues, emergency preparation and other matters. The check list can be down loaded from the following website: www.royallifesaving.com.au.
Ownership of a swimming pool provides many hours of pleasure and is a great leisure time activity, but in turn carries a large burden of responsibility to maintain it in a manner fit for persons to use.
It is essential that children are watched at all times by a responsible adult, as many drownings occur in the brief moments when parents are distracted. Never leave children alone in the pool area.
Parents are also encouraged to introduce their children to water safety at an early age and to attend swimming classes.
Parents should also learn resuscitation in case of an emergency.
How to keep your pool safe
Whilst sufficient fencing is important in preventing accidental drowning, it is not the only thing you should be doing. You should also do the following:
- Always keep your fence, gates, doors and window locks secure and in good condition. Regularly check them.
- Always keep your gate and door latches and self-closing mechanisms in good working order.
- Always close your gates and doors when not in actual use. Never prop gates open.
- Never leave climbable objects near the fence.
- Always keep trees, shrubs and creepers trimmed well away from the fence.
- Always leave your filter covered so small children can't get into it and keep chemicals out of view and reach.
- Always supervise children around the pool at all times. A fence is no substitute for responsible supervision.
- Teach your children to swim from an early age.
- Undertake resuscitation (CPR) training for emergency situations.
Pool Fencing (Child Resistant Barrier)
The requirements for child-resistant barriers on premises where there is a residential building vary according to when the pool was constructed and where the pool is located.
- For pools built before 1 August 1990, the pool must be isolated from access from the street or from adjoining properties. The pool does not have to be separated from any residential building on the land provided the means of access from the building to the pool is restricted at all times. The standard for restriction, for example, by use of complying windows and doors, is set out in the Swimming Pools Regulation applicable at the time the pool was built.
- For pools built after 1 August 1990 but before 1 September 2008, the pool must be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier that separates the pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any place adjoining the Australian Standard 1926-1986 Fences and Gates for Private Swimming Pools.
- For pools built after 1 September 2008, but before 1 may 2013, the appropriate standard is Australian Standard 1926.1-2007 Swimming Pool Safety, Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools.
- For pools built after 1 May 2013, the appropriate standard is Australian Standard 1926.1-2012 Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools.