Portable swimming pool safety

Portable pools can pose a safety risk, especially for children under the age of five. Even in a small portable pool with very little water, it only takes seconds for a child to drown.

Inflatable and portable pools can present a danger as they are not usually fenced and may not be completely emptied after use. Pool fencing laws apply to pools, including portable pools 300mm (30cm) deep or more.

Drowning can occur when adults are distracted (for instance, using handheld electronic devices, answering a phone call or hanging out the laundry), or mistakenly thinking someone else is supervising their child.

Adults should always actively supervise children from within arm's reach when they are in and around the water. You should not rely on older children to supervise younger children, no matter how confident you are about their ability to supervise the younger child.

Make It Safe

Royal Life Saving and consumer affairs agencies across Australia have developed the Make It Safe campaign to help you  be aware of the dangers and follow some simple safety steps, like active supervision of kids in and around portable pools. Two portable pool safety fact sheets have been developed to help consumers be aware of the dangers and enjoy their pools safely. 

Safety Standards

Mandatory standard have been introduced to address the safety risks and ultimately protect consumers.

The Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard 2013 covers the labelling requirements for portable pools to alert consumers of the drowning hazard and pool fencing laws.

Under the standard, portable swimming pools are items that are intended for personal, domestic or household use, and one of the following:

  • An inflatable swimming pool, of any depth
  • A soft-sided swimming pool, of any depth
  • A rigid-sided swimming pool that is not deeper than 300mm (30cm)

The standard does not apply to spas, hot tubs or whirlpool tubs unless they meet the description above.

Anyone in the business of supplying portable swimming pools must comply with this standard, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has developed a supplier guide which provides a summary of the mandatory requirements. Further information is also outlined in the standard.

If you supply portable swimming pools that do not meet the mandatory standard you may be liable for heavy fines and product recalls.

Pool fences

Pools deeper than 30cm (the size of an average ruler) are required to have safety barriers. 

You can find more information about fences and pool safety laws in the Building and Energy Division's publications:

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