Pool Fence Safety

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Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under 5 years of age. Statistics from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report show that in 2016/17, toddler drowning incidents increased by 32%. During this period, 29 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these drowning incidents (45%) occurred in backyard swimming pools.

While safety barriers can be effective in reducing the risk of drowning incidents, evidence suggests that a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty, or non-compliant with Australian standards.

Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ Backyard Pool Safety campaign calls on all pool and spa owners to sign up to Kidsafe’s pool party event on Facebook and pledge to check the safety of their pool or spa barrier on Sunday October 1, in the lead up to the warmer months.

For more information to assist you to check the safety of your pool and spa barrier, please click on the resources below:

‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign DL flyer

‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign A3 poster

‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ video – checking the safety of your pool barrier with Matt Welsh

Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s Home Pool Safety Checklist

 

This campaign is proudly supported by Safetech Hardware.

Fence it in!

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 A survey by CHOICE found that over half of all Australian pool fences tested failed to meet key safety aspects of the Australian Standard for pool fencing. It is an essential preventative measure to maintain a compliant pool fence in good working order.

It is recommended that a swimming pool be surrounded with a fence that is at least 1200mm tall. Slatted fences should have no gaps wider than 100mm, so young children cannot squeeze through. Installation of self-closing and self-latching gates with latches that are beyond a child’s reach (usually 1500mm) is vital. NEVER prop open the gate with an object, i.e. a chair or rock. Unfortunately evidence suggests that a large number of childhood drowning deaths can be accounted to faulty or non-compliant pool fencing.

A mother accounts the tragic loss of her son in a backyard swimming pool - Read her story.

The Legislation in SA

New swimming pool safety regulations came into effect on 1 October 2008. These rules require all homes with pools to have up-to-date child-safety barriers in place before the property can be sold.

It is the responsibility of the pool owner to make sure that the latest pool safety requirements are met prior to the settlement date when selling a property with a swimming pool. Specific pool safety requirements are set by Australian Standards adopted by the State Government.

Under the Standards, all swimming pools must have a continuous safety barrier that is maintained by the pool owner and which restricts access by young children to the pool and the immediate pool surrounds. There are specific requirements in the Standards regarding fences, gates and any doors or windows which provide direct access to a pool.

It is important to remember that safety barriers, such as pool fencing, do not replace active adult supervision of children around water.

Check Your Pool Fence

You should undertake regular inspections of your pool fence and regularly maintain it. It is also a good idea to hire a professional to undertake a comprehensive inspection of your pool fence.

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Where can I go for further information?

Download and print the Kidsafe SA Prevention of Childhood Drowning information sheet

Download and print the resource Is Your Swimming Pool Kid Safe?

For Pool Fencing and Safety Barriers:

Your local Council

Building Policy Branch
Ph: (08) 8303 0602
 

For Resuscitation:

Royal Life Saving Society
www.royallifesaving.com.au
Ph: (08) 8234 9244

Australian Red Cross
www.redcross.org.au
Ph: (08) 8100 4500

St John Ambulance
www.stjohnsa.com.au
Ph: 1300 360 455

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