Water to most young children means fun, play and adventure;
they do not understand the dangers associated with it.
Drowning is one of the most common causes of unintentional death in Australia in children aged 4 years and under, children 1-3 years are the most vulnerable. Children, especially toddlers, seem to be drawn to water whether it is in the bath, the toilet, buckets, swimming pools, puddles, dams etc. Whilst children may drown in a variety of these water environments, the backyard swimming pool remains the most dangerous water environment for young children.
A child can drown silently in as little as 3cm of water in less than 2 minutes. Children and water, without adult supervision do not mix. Follow our 4 simple steps to ensure your child is safe around water.
Supervise: Keep a close watch on your child when they are in or around water, this is the most effective way to prevent drowning. Children under 5 years old should be within arm's reach.
Eliminate hazards: where possible, eliminate the hazards, if there is no water there is no risk! For example, empty buckets and baths when not in use.
Environmental Measures: Fence it in - all pools must have suitable safety barriers to restrict access by young children to the immediate pool surrounds, constructed in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1926.1. Block pool and spa access with a safety cover when not in use.
Education and Skill Development: Teach children to swim and make sure you learn resuscitation - the first few minutes in an emergency can make the difference between life and death.
Pool Fence Safety
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under 5 years of age. Statistics from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report show that in 2016/17, toddler drowning incidents increased by 32%. During this period, 29 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these drowning incidents (45%) occurred in backyard swimming pools.
While safety barriers can be effective in reducing the risk of drowning incidents, evidence suggests that a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty, or non-compliant with Australian standards.
Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ Backyard Pool Safety campaign calls on all pool and spa owners to check the safety of their pool or spa barriers to assist in keeping children safe in and around water. You can watch the campaign video as well as the how to video on checking your pool fence at the bottom of this page. This campaign is proudly supported by Safetech Hardware.
It is important to remember that safety barriers, such as pool fencing, do not replace active adult supervision of children around water.
Water Safety Audit
Portable and Above Ground Pools
What is a portable pool?
Portable swimming pools are a popular summer item and are easily purchased from a variety of department and discount stores. There are many different types of portable pools on the market from inflatable pools through to steel framed pools with filtration systems. Depths can vary from as little as 150mm to over one metre.
If I purchase a portable pool, what do I have to do?
If the pool has a filtration system, you will need to contact your local council about obtaining approval for the pool and ensuring safety features are in place.
Small portable and wading pools
Pools in this category are usually plastic clam shells and inflatable pools with a slip n slide component. They are defined as:
- Water height / depth less than 300mm (30cm)
- Volume of no more than 2,000L
- No filtration or pumping system.
It is important to empty these pools at the end of each use and store them in a safe place where they can’t be filled with rain water or water from sprinklers.
Large portable or inflatable pools
These pools are quite large, have a filtration system and are purchased with the intention of being set up for the duration of summer. They are defined as:
- Water height / depth 300mm (30cm) or greater
- Can be filled with a capacity greater than 2000L
- Have a filtration system
- These pools require council approval and safety features to be in place. Check with your local council before purchase.
* If you cannot afford to install a compliant fence around a portable pool of this type, a better option is a small portable or wading pool (clam shell or slip and slide) that doesn’t have a filtration system and which can be emptied and put away after each use.