Propping your pool gate open is a matter of life and death

Building and Energy is alerting owners and occupiers of properties with swimming or spa pools about the significant risks of propping open a pool gate.

Statistics show that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under five years of age, with many such tragedies occurring in domestic pools.

Building laws in Western Australia require swimming and spa pools with water more than 30cm deep to have safety barriers. These laws are intended to protect the safety of young children by restricting their access to the pool area.

Owners and occupiers are required to comply with the laws by maintaining the pool barrier, including the pool gate and latches, at all times.

“Pool gates are a high-risk area and have been identified as the most common access point used by a young child to gain unsupervised access into a pool area,” Building Commissioner Ken Bowron said.

“Propping open the gate for any reason allows easy unsupervised access for toddlers to the pool, and they can drown in a matter of seconds.

“A pool’s safety barrier is worthless if the pool gate is propped open. You are also breaking the law.”

Under building laws, local governments have powers to issue an infringement notice and fine owners and occupiers up to $750 for failing to have a compliant safety barrier.

See the Building and Energy website ( for new flyers that alert people about pool gates, pools under construction and other safety issues. Local governments are encouraged to distribute these flyers as part of their building permit processes for pools and pool inspection programs.


Media contact: Sarah Roberts – 0466 409 828 or

Building and Energy
Media release
17 Jan 2019

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