By Susanne Vivian
As we are heading into the warmer months child safety and supervision around residential swimming pools and spas become more paramount as highlighted by recent drowning tragedies of young children in backyard pools.
The latest statistics from the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2013/14 demonstrates 8% of drowning incidents in residential pools are of children aged between 0-4 years, the group at the greatest risk and 4% are children aged between 5-14 years of age.
Below are some important points to help explain the current requirements for pool barriers. Please note that the information below is a guide only. Please note that implementing safety barriers is no substitute for adult supervision of children.
- If a Victorian residential pool or spa has a depth of 30cm or more (300mm), it is required to be surrounded by safety barrier. This includes inflatable pools.
- All pools and spas built after 2010 require a four sided barrier (isolation fence), with no direct access from the house or any other building to the pool or spa.
- Safety barriers must be a minimum of 1.2 metres high.
- Barrier gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
- It is illegal to leave a pool or spa gate propped open.
- Climbable objects such as pot plants, pool pumps and chairs must be moved away from the barrier.
Other pool safety measures parents may install include enrolling young children in particular those age between 1 to 4 years of age into swimming lessons at their local swimming centre. Also it is advised parents learn Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) which can be obtained through a First Aid provider and have a fully equipped first aid kit in the house.
In case of emergencies the phone number in Australia is 000.
For further information regarding pool and spa safety regulations and advice you can refer to www.kidsafe.com.au/water-safely/pool-fence-safely/pool-fencing-laws for all the latest information.