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Pool safety

Drowning is one of the major causes of death for NSW children under the age of five. Each year on average 10 children under the age of five drown in backyard swimming pools and many more suffer brain damage and other serious injuries associated with near-drowning experiences.

Preventing young children from drowning in swimming pools

Specific legislation requiring pools to be appropriately fenced exists, however the installation of pool barriers and the display of warning signs are only a part of proper pool safety procedures.

Preventing young children from drowning in swimming pools requires a combination of approaches. While legislation legally requires pool owners to provide a fence or other barriers, supervision of children is critical to ensure tragic accidents are prevented. Remember – children can drown in fenced pools.

Below are some of the things you need to check:

  • Gates must open outwards away from the pool and be self-closing and self-latching from any position
  • The internal barrier fence must be 1.2m high all the way around, and gaps between all vertical rails must be 100mm or less
  • The boundary barrier fence must be 1.8m high
  • Gaps between the bottom of the barrier fence and ground must be 100mm or less
  • The pool fence must be kept clear of climbable objects such as toys, bikes, furniture, pot plants, trees etc
  • An appropriate warning sign that includes details of resuscitation (CPR techniques)

To get a full run down on what you need to check for, download the relevant checklist from the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register website.

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