While fun for small children, there are serious hazards associated with inflatable and portable pools. But did you know regulations apply to fencing some inflatable pools?
Toddlers can drown silently in very shallow water. In fact, between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016, 55 people drowned in pools, spas and baths across Australia.
Did you know?
Most state regulations say that any pool which can be filled to a depth of 300 millimetres (30 centimetres) must be surrounded by a child-proof barrier.
Under the law in Victoria, for example, a swimming pool is defined as any “excavation or structure capable of 300 millimetres water depth,’… ‘used principally for swimming, wading, paddling or the like.’
Note: The laws are fairly consistent across Australia. However, you should check the regulations pertaining to your state on the links below.
- NSW Pool Fence regulations
- QLD Pool Fence regulations
- SA Pool Fence regulations
- WA Pool Fence regulations
- VIC Pool Fence regulations
There is some difficulty in making sure this regulation is enforced, however. Unlike in-ground pools and permanent above-ground pools that require a building permit, there is no record of where inflatable pools are around Australia.
In some ways, inflatables can be more dangerous than bigger pools, due to their collapsible sides and lack of education when they are sold at local retail outlets.
Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five in Australia.
According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2016, 82 children drowned between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2015, with their deaths related to appropriate supervision, pool fencing and emergency care.
Among the cases with information on fencing available, fencing was present in 27 per cent of cases, absent in 27 per cent of cases and faulty in 35 per cent of cases. Among cases with available information, children most commonly gained access to the pool through a faulty fence or gate (38 per cent), lack of a fence (31 per cent) or a gate which was propped open (18 per cent).
The findings serve as an appropriate reminder of the Keep Watch program which promotes the key action of restricting a child’s access to water by installing and maintaining a barrier, such as a pool fence with a gate which self-closes and self-latches.