Safety Tips

Pool and spa safety

20 October 2016

Young children are usually pretty fearless and inquisitive by nature, and attracted to water like a magnet. If they haven’t had water awareness or swimming lessons, or are too young to understand pool and spa safety rules, they’re likely to fall in – and potentially drown. It only takes a few minutes and the sad reality about drowning is that it is silent.

Swimart’s pool and spa safety checklist

Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch program targets parents and carers of children under five and aims to prevent drowning deaths of young children. This invaluable water safety initiative, which all Swimart pool and spa owners should familiarise themselves with, promotes four key actions:

Supervise - Active supervision means focusing all of your attention on your children all of the time, when they are in, on or around the water. Stay within arms’ reach.

Restrict access – Place a barrier around water, such as a correctly installed and regularly maintained pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Inflatable pools with a depth greater than 300mm also need to be fenced in accordance with state or territory legislation.

Water awareness - Familiarise your children with water by enrolling them in water awareness classes and spending time with them in the water. Set rules around water and discuss water safety with your child.

Resuscitate - A family member is the first on the scene in most emergency situations. In fact, many children are alive today because their parents knew how to perform CPR and responded quickly. Learn how to resuscitate and ensure your skills are up-to-date.

The Royal Life Saving YouTube channel has a short Keep Watch video, which outlines its water safety program in less than two minutes.

Royal Life Saving also has a program called Make it Safe, which focuses on portable pool safety – think inflatable or wading pool – that asks owners if they can ‘make it safe’, with information such as:

  • Checking with your local council regarding fencing requirements;
  • Ensuring you always actively supervise children within arms’ reach whenever they are in, or around the water;
  • Never relying on older children to supervise younger children, no matter how confident you are about their ability to supervise the younger child;
  • Ensuring you empty smaller pools and putting them away when you are finished with them; and
  • Always storing portable pools safely away from young children, and ensuring the pool cannot fill with rain water or water from sprinklers.
Image courtesy of Royal Life Saving Society.


Image courtesy of Royal Life Saving Society.


Image courtesy of Royal Life Saving Society.

You can also download the PoolSafety smartphone app from iTunes, which is an interactive checklist for your home swimming pool and spa.

“Owning a pool or spa is one of life’s great pleasures, but for the safety of young children and non-swimmers, it’s imperative that they are properly secured and maintained,” says Chris Fitzmaurice, national manager of Swimart.

“Nothing replaces close supervision by a responsible adult, but having complying fences and gates around pools and spas goes a long way to reducing the very real danger of children wandering into water they can’t handle,” says Fitzmaurice.

Swimart’s key safety tips include:

  • Keep fences, gates and child resistant locks in good working order
  • Ensure there are no gaps under the pool fence that young children can climb under
  • All fences should be at least 1.2 metres high*
  • Gates must swing outward from the pool area and be self-closing and latching from any position
  • Children should be taught to swim from an early age
  • Never leave gates or doors propped open
  • Don’t leave objects near the fence which children can move to gain access to the pool
  • Learn CPR

*Each state and territory in Australia has its own laws regarding pool fencing, so check with your local SPASA or local council.

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