Pool Safety Post Summer

Summer is officially over, but that doesn’t mean that pool safety is any less important. With the weather tipped to be warm for many more weeks yet, I have to ask – is your pool and fence in tip top condition? Would they pass a compliance check? If the answer is no, you are risking much more than a fine – you are risking lives.

Did you know that all pools and spas (including portable and inflatable pools) containing more than 30cm of water are legally required to be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool register? Registration is free, but the fine for not doing so is $220, and fines of $550 apply if a pool is not completely surrounded by a compliant pool fence. And if you wish to lease or sell a property with a pool or spa, a Certificate of Compliance must be obtained from Penrith City Council or an independent assessor.

My family moved into a new house a few years ago, and I was disappointed to notice that the pool gate stopped closing automatically pretty soon after, and had to be repaired immediately, despite having just passed compliance. With three young children who spent the majority of their time playing outside in the backyard I dread to think what might have happened had we not noticed. It’s worth taking the time to regularly check fences and gates around the pool, and to make sure trees have not grown over the fence to aid climbing. Be vigilant.

Even with effective barriers in place, the importance of supervision cannot be overstated. Drowning remains the biggest cause of accidental death in children under 5, and in most cases these deaths can be directly attributed to a lack of supervision. Nothing is more important than supervising children around water – drowning is silent, and swift.

We know that kids are adventurous by nature – they love to climb and explore – and can often be found trying to climb the fence to retrieve a stray ball from the pool or propping the pool gate open (rather than let it self-latch). Water safety lectures when seeing these behaviours often fall on the deaf ears of our little people, which only emphasises the importance of the other precautions being taken – barriers, supervision, learning to swim and knowing CPR for emergencies.

Kids can’t help themselves around water, you need to. Stay safer everyone.