The weather is already warming up and daylight savings has started in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. That means it won’t be long before we’re inviting friends over for an afternoon barbeque and dip in the pool. However, while many of us have kept up basic pool water maintenance routine over winter, we probably haven't given much thought to the equipment we rely to keep the pool area safe – namely the fence, gate, and latch.
“Spending summer in the pool is where memories are made, but for the safety of small children, the elderly or inexperienced swimmers, it’s important that they are properly secured and regularly maintained,” says Rick Graham, Swimart’s pool and spa expert.
“With children under the age of five at most risk of drowning, nothing replaces close supervision by a responsible adult," he says. "However, having complying fences and gates around pools and spas goes a long way to reducing the very real danger of children wandering into water they can’t handle.”
Keep friends and family safe with Swimart’s common sense safety tips:
- Regularly check fences, gates and child resistant locks are working properly
- Pool gates must open outward from pool, be self-closing and self-latching, latch shut on the first swing, be more than 1.5m from the ground, and comply with local council regulations
- Pool fence must be secure and in good working order, should be at least 1.2m high and no more than 100mm from the ground, and not have vertical gaps more than 100mm apart
- Do not prop the gate open and ensure there are no gaps under the pool fence that young kids can climb under, or climbable furniture they can use to gain access into the pool area
- Empty smaller wading pools and put them away when you are finished using them
- Store portable pools safely away from young children, and ensure they cannot fill with rain water or water from sprinklers
- Actively supervise children within arms’ reach whenever they are in, or around the water
- Never rely on older children to supervise younger children
- Teach children about water safety from an early age and consider enrolling them in a swim class at the beginning of the season
- Encourage everyone in your family to learn resuscitation and first aid skills
- Clearly display a legible CPR chart in the pool area
- Securely store pool chemicals out of view and out of children’s reach
Home pool safety smartphone app
Ensure your swimming pool is safe for children with Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch Pool Safety app – an interactive checklist for your home swimming pool.
Standards and regulations can be a headache, and non-compliance can lead to expensive fines. Pool Safety takes the hassle out of ensuring that your pool is as safe as possible.
The comprehensive checklist covers the swimming pool gate; pool fence; supervision; pumps, grates and suction; emergency preparation; chemicals; and electricity. You can use the checklist to identify a problem, take a photo and email a report.
Also, up to six family members can use this app with Family Sharing enabled.
Pool safety and holiday rentals
If you are planning to rent out your home through sites like Airbnb or Stayz, or book a summer house with a pool, Rick says it’s important that a safe swimming environment is provided for all guests.
“In addition to things like indemnity insurance, it’s important that Airbnb hosts outline key safety measures and rules clearly in their terms and conditions,” he explains. “Displaying an approved resuscitation chart in the pool area, providing contacts for local emergency providers, and regularly checking gates and latches are just some of the things pool and spa owners can do to ensure guest safety, and peace of mind.”
*Each state and territory in Australia have its own laws regarding pool fencing, so homeowners are advised to check with their local SPASA (Swimming Pool and Spa Association) or local council.
Call 1300 991 104 or visit your nearest Swimart store for more safety advice or to update your CPR chart.