Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. The
season in which the highest number of drownings occurs is summer, with autumn following close behind. Proper pool compliance has proven effective in preventing deaths but supervision of children is still essential. Being aware of legislative changes is important for keeping compliant.
“This time of year is particularly dangerous for drownings. Naturally with the heat people want to get into their pools. But they need to be reminded that tragedies do happen and that despite reductions in the annual number of deaths, swimming pools still account for the largest number of drownings for the 0-4 age category,” said Pia Vogel, Joint Managing Director of HomeSource Ltd.
The number of infant drowning deaths in Australia between July 1st 2002 and June 30th 2011 was 318. The majority of these occurred in swimming pools. Federal government research found that 41 per cent of infant drowning deaths could have been prevented through improved compliance.
“Pool fences need to be in accordance with State legislation. But the most dependable preventative measure is supervision. It only takes two minutes for a child to drown.”
Australia has the highest number of swimming pools per capita in the world. All States require child barrier fencing around pools. Fences are required to be a minimum 1.2 m in height with no gaps below or between members more than 10cm wide. There is a minimum height of 1.8m if it is a boundary fence/wall. There are also standards for the location of fences such as having them away from climbable objects. Gates for pool access also need to be compliant.
“Don’t simply rely on physical barriers as kids can be more persistent than you think. Constantly check the lock on the gate and the integrity of the fence. Remember kids grow fast so regularly check they can’t reach the lock. Make sure there are no climbable objects around the pool including easily moveable objects. Teach your children the dangers of pools without making it sound like a challenge to be met.” Ms Vogel said.
In October, the New South Wales government introduced amendments to their pool legislation. The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 which commenced on 29 October 2012 requires that the 340,000 pools in NSW need to be registered by October 29 2013. The register will be available for use from April 29th 2013.
If a pool is not registered the property owners will face fines of $2200. If a pool is found incompliant they can be fined $5000. Safety compliance inspections can be conducted by private operators as well as the council for an estimated fee of $150. Property owners require a compliance certificate before sale or lease of their property from 29 April 2014.
HomeSource Access is a legal and building advice service which provides an hour per annum of over the phone consultations with a professional builder or lawyer on property issues. Access members can make informed decisions when it comes to their homes and common issues like neighbour disputes, council regulations, renovations and DIY. Professional pool legislation changes and pool or fence building advice is just one phone call away for Access members.
For more information about HomeSource Access call 1300 733 420 or visit the website.