Commissioner's blog: Making a splash with portable pool safety campaign
Western Australians are being reminded about the dangers of portable pools during an annual national campaign involving consumer protection agencies, product safety regulators and the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia.
The ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’ initiative takes place each year because on average one child dies from drowning in a portable pool annually, with other kids needing hospital treatment and some suffering permanent brain damage.
The summer campaign is supported by drowning prevention ambassadors, including a mum whose son died in December 2017, two years after suffering irreversible neurological injuries when drowning in an unfenced portable pool at a relative’s house here in WA.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, portable pools – ranging from small blow-up or plastic paddling pools to bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame – must have warning labels drawing the buyer’s attention to the drowning risk and local fencing laws if the pool can hold 30cm of water.
Some major Australian retailers have agreed to go the extra mile and display ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’ promotional materials in store and/or put stickers on portable pool boxes as products are bought to promote the key messages:
- Supervise. Actively watch children within arm’s reach. Don’t leave children in charge.
- Act. Learn CPR – know to start compressions and breaths as soon as possible when a child is pulled from the water and to call triple zero (000) for help.
- Fence. In most parts of Australia, pools filled with more than 30cm of water, are legally required to have a compliant safety barrier. Ask your local council or government agency.
- Empty. For pools that don’t need to fenced, keep watch all day, then drain and store away from children, in a place where it can’t refill with rain or sprinkler water.
If you buy a portable pool, don’t duck out of the responsibilities that come with that purchase, which may include putting up a safety barrier when you set up the product in your yard. Anyone thinking about purchasing a portable pool should check out: www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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