No summer holiday for your pool safety barriers
- Effective, well-maintained and compliant pool safety barriers can help save lives
- Pool gates must never be propped open
- Only adults should supervise young children; don’t rely on older children for this
- Useful resources available from Building and Energy
With summer school holidays starting, Western Australians are urged to check their pool safety barriers, keep pool gates closed and ensure young children are actively supervised by an adult around water.
Under WA laws, all private swimming pools, spas and portable pools with water more than 30cm deep must have an effective and well-maintained safety barrier that complies with the law and restricts the access of young children.
Building and Energy is encouraging residents to use a handy checklist (dmirs.wa.gov.au/poolsafetychecklist) and a detailed Rules for Pools and Spas booklet (commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/rules-pools-and-spas) to ensure their pool safety barriers are in good working order.
“Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children in Australia, with the majority of these tragedies happening in private swimming pools,” Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said.
“There is no substitute for close and active adult supervision of young children around water, but pool fences do save lives by limiting access.”
According to Royal Life Saving Western Australia’s most recent WA Drowning Report, 29 children aged four or younger fatally drowned in the State in the 10-year period between 2011-12 and 2020-21. Around two-thirds (65.5 per cent) of these deaths involved home swimming pools, most often (75.9 per cent) at the child’s usual place of residence.
The highest-risk parts of a pool safety barrier are doors, gates and latches, which must be well maintained, self-closing, self-latching and never propped open.
“An open gate allows easy, unsupervised access for toddlers, who can drown in seconds,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
“A pool’s safety barrier is worthless if the gate is propped open. If the local government catches you propping open a gate, you can also receive a $1,000 infringement notice, which no one wants in the lead-up to Christmas.”
With different age groups sharing the pool during school holidays, parents and carers are encouraged to speak to older children about the risks for younger family members.
“Only an adult should be supervising young children around water, but older children can help with safety by ensuring the pool gate is closed and climbable objects are kept away from the pool barrier,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
Information on the safety barrier requirements for WA swimming pools can be found at dmirs.wa.gov.au/rules-for-pools.
Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au
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