City urges pool safety to keep children safe

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Each year too many families suffer the tragedy of a child drowning in home swimming pools and spas.

In the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season, the City of Mandurah would like to remind parents, caregivers and other adults to keep a close eye on children around pools and spas including inflatable and temporary pools.

The 2011-2016 Royal Life Saving Report into Home Swimming Pools states that within the reporting period, 19 children aged 0-4 years drowned in WA, 13 of which occurred in home swimming pools.

The research indicated that 11 of these drownings occurred in the Perth metropolitan area with the mean age being 21 months. In each instance, a lack of adult supervision was a contributing factor and all pools had either a pool safety barrier fault allowing access or were unsecure at the time of the incident.

Pool and spa owners must remember their obligations to ensure that the required safety barrier is in place around their pool and/or spa and that in particular, gates function properly and are not left propped open.

If you are intending to install a pool or spa, whether permanent or temporary (such as inflatable or plastic), you must:

  • Make sure you obtain the required building approval from your Local Government.
  • Install the required safety barrier.
  • Have the pool safety barrier inspected and approved by your Local Government before filling the pool with water.

The City undertakes inspections of swimming pool and spa safety barriers every four years but it is essential that the owners or occupiers of premises with pools or spas:

  • Keep your pool gates closed and operating correctly, they should self-close and self-latch from all points of opening, and hold fast once closed.
  • Don’t prop your gates open at any time.
  • Keep all climbable objects like pot plants and furniture away from the safety barrier.
  • Make sure any windows opening into a pool area are prevented from opening any more than 100mm or fitted with a security screen.
  • The safety barrier must always remain sturdy and make sure there are no gaps under or through a fence that will allow a 100mm sphere to pass through or under it.
  • Always make sure that the water quality is suitable for swimming.

For useful information including a Home Pool Safety Checklist, visit the Royal Life Saving Society WA’s website at royallifesavingwa.com.au.

Local Governments are authorised to issue on the spot fines of $750 for pools that have no or noncompliant swimming pool safety barrier. In addition, prosecution and a penalty of up to $5,000 may be applied.

All pool owners are responsible to take whatever measures are required to maintain safety and security. The supervision of young children aged five years or less will always reside with the parents and carers and protecting young children means constant supervision.