Healthy, happy and water savvy
Having little ones in and around the pool can sometimes prove taxing for their parents. However, water playtime needn’t be stressful; it should be fun! All that’s needed is a healthy attitude towards swim safety.
To help guide you towards keeping everyone safer in and around the pool, Swim Australia has developed the “Layers of Protection.”
For the Layers of Protection to be successful, Swim Australia insists each of the four elements must be applied at the same time, that way if one layer lapses, there are others to help back it up.
- Constant visual contact;
- Remaining within arm’s reach of a non-swimmer and/or any child under five;
- Avoid being distracted by a doorbell, the house or mobile phone, a neighbor by the fence etc;
- Always be ready to respond.
- The pool must be fully isolated from the house by a complying, four-sided fence;
- Have self-closing and self-latching gates;
- The fence and gate are checked regularly and are in good working order.
Swimming & Water Safety Skills
- Explore and become comfortable in water environments;
- Gain confidence through various water activities;
- Develop the ‘strokes’ in a positive, free-from-fear environment.
Emergency Action Plan
- If a child is missing, check the pool and other water hazards first; seconds count!
- Have a phone poolside for emergency use only;
- Know CPR!
Prevention is the best course of action
In addition to ensuring water safety, working to keep your pool area safer is crucial; it only takes a few moments to ensure everything is up to standard.
- Remove tempting items from in and around the pool, such as toys and floatation devices;
- Make sure nothing near the fence can be used as a step for kids to climb over the fence - this includes chairs, pot plants, stacks of wood;
- Check the pool fencing is up to safety standard - ensure the gate is high enough, it self latches properly and is not ever propped or left open;
- Reinforce with your kids, they are only allowed to go swimming with an adult. It’s a simple rule that could save lives!
New pool fence safety legislation for NSW and QLD
The NSW and QLD state governments have made amendments to the 1992 Swimming Pools Act; so if you live in either of these states, ensure you are aware of the changes and take action if need be:
- All owners need to register their pools online on their respective state government websites. Those in QLD should have already registered their pool in 2011, and those in NSW need to register by no later than the 29 October 2013. Failure to do so will result in a fine.
- Pool owners will also have to assess, to the best of their ability, whether their pool complies with fencing and safety laws already in place.
- The local council will perform checks of registered pools on behalf of the state government, with any pool found to not be complying with safety regulations receiving a fine.
- A pool that passes these checks will be issued with a compliance certificate that is valid for 3 years from the date of its issue.
- Pool owners will need to supply this compliance certificate when selling or leasing the property.