Inflatable or portable pools are a great way to beat the heat, but without supervision and safe storage they can be a serious drowning risk to young children. According to the Royal Life Saving Society, children under five accounted for nearly half of all swimming pool drowning deaths between July 2012 and June 2013, with falls into water causing about 80 per cent of accidents.
Regardless of the pool’s size, always actively supervise children from within arm’s reach when they are in and around the water. Adult supervision is a must. Never rely on older children to supervise younger children, no matter how confident you are about their ability.
Ensure inflatable or portable pools which are deeper than 30 centimetres are surrounded by a swimming pool fence. As fencing requirements can differ between states and territories, contact your local government authority for details.
Always empty smaller pools when not in use. Deflate or disassemble the pool and store it away to prevent rain or nearby sprinkler water being collected. Remember, children can drown in seconds, even in shallow water.
Under a new mandatory safety standard, to be enforced by the ACCC, portable pools and their retail packaging will require new warning labels from March 2014. The warning labels will also draw attention to state and territory fencing laws for pools, including inflatable and portable pools.
Further information on portable pool safety and the upcoming mandatory safety standard is available at www.productsafety.gov.au/portablepools.