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Essential pool safety tips

Swimming pools are an Australian institution.

They also demand that safety requirements be in place.

Whether you’re staying at a BIG4 park or at home, there are a few critical messages to be across.

So, we're sharing these vital pool safety tips to help protect families across Australia.

Keeping kids safe in the pool is paramount.

Supervise children in pools

Whether your child can swim or not, it is essential that someone is supervising children at all times when they’re near or in a pool, or anywhere else around water. This is the case whether you are at a home with a pool, at a public pool, or staying at a BIG4 park.

Kids are naturally curious, and if they are near the water’s edge, they can easily lose their balance and fall in. To ensure there is someone watching your kids at all times, you can always nominate a ‘responsible pool person’ and take turns sharing the load.

As part of this, it is vital that eyes are on children constantly and parents are free from distraction – i.e. mobile phones. A joint 2019 study by UNSW Sydney, James Cook University, and Royal Life Saving Society found a clear link between a lapse in supervision and child drownings. 

Children require constant supervision when they are in or around water.

Check your pool fence

A survey by Choice found that more than 50% of Australian pool fences that were tested did not meet the Australian safety standards for pool fencing. So what safety standards does your pool need to meet? Critically, they focus on pool fence heights and the size of the gaps within slatted fences. These measurements can vary from state to state – links to further resources are available at the bottom of this article.

In addition, it is advised that you remove climbable objects near the pool fence. Items such as chairs, tables, pot plants, trees, and more can act as a ladder for young kids.

This goes for inside the pool area too, as kids can reach and pull items through to get a foothold on.

Strict rules around pool fences are in place for good reason.

Pay attention to the pool gate

There are several safety requirements for your pool gate that you may not be aware of. To keep your pool area as safe as possible, ensure the pool gate is:

  • Self-closing and self-latching.
  • Not propped open, even when you’re in the pool area.
  • Regularly maintained.

The pool gate is a critical element of the overall picture.

Assess the entire pool area

It is important to look beyond the pool gate and fence when it comes to pool safety.

  • Remove toys from the pool when you’re not using them. If there are pool toys floating in the water, it may entice kids to try and enter the pool area. Keep toys stored away and out of reach from little ones.
  • Have a CPR chart on your fence. These instructions could help save a life in an emergency. 

Removing toys when not in use might also remove kids' temptation to enter the pool area.

Teach your kids to swim

Swimming is a huge part of Australian culture. Many families spend their weekends swimming in public or backyard pools. If a child falls into the pool and they don’t know how to swim, they could be in serious danger.

Teaching your children to swim will keep them fit and healthy, help them burn energy, and build their confidence around water. It will also help to make your holiday more pleasant if your kids are able to enjoy the water with you.

Teaching children to swim has abundant benefits.

Pool safety regulations 

For more information about local pool safety regulations, click on the link to your state/territory below.

Queensland

New South Wales

Victoria

Western Australia

South Australia

Tasmania

Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory

All pools are not the same. And requirements vary across the country.

Please stay safe this summer, particularly whenever you and your family are around water.

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