On average, 74 people are hospitalised for non-fatal drowning in Australia each year, with swimming pools the leading location accounting for 36 percent of incidents.
Over the last 25 years, 965 children under the age of five drowned in Australia. Swimming pools are the leading location for child drowning, primarily due to a lapse in supervision, faulty gates, and propped-open gates.
Royal Life Saving Australia has a handy, home pool safety checklist on their website that allows pool owners to conduct a self-assessment of a home pool and its surrounds to ensure it is compliant and safe.
It's easy to take for granted the importance of the fencing and gates around all pools.
In goes without saying that gates and fences around pools are there to ensure no drowning incidents occur at your home pool. A secure fence and gate must be a minimum of 1.2m high. The fence must be no more than 100mm from the ground and there must be no vertical gaps more than 100mm apart. Little people can be extremely agile at crawling through small spaces.
All swimming pool gates must open outward from the pool and be self-closing and latching. Rules state that the latch must be more than 1.5m from the ground, to ensure little hands can't reach it.
The gate must also close shut on the first swing and swing back to the closed position after being opened.
Children will often try to climb a gate and bounce on the bottom rail. This can cause the gate to unlatch. Ensure the gate remains secure even when weight is added to the lower rung.
It's easy to forget when we are busy around the pool with cleaning or gardening chores, that we have propped the gate open and created a potential for toddlers or children to enter the pool area without our knowledge. Stay vigilant and aware at all times and don't prop open the gate when children are on the premises.
In addition ensure that pool aids and toys are stored away securely and out of view so not to entice children who may want to get their hands on something to play with while you are not there to supervise.
Remove any objects, such as chairs, ladders, trees, pot plants or barbecues from the area as they could be used to climb the fence. Be sure to check any requirements for spa pools and paddling pools before adding one of these to your home.
Visit https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/families/at-home/home-pool-safety/home-pool-safety-checklist to gain more insight into how you can keep your family safe around your pool. You can download helpful checklist that can tick off all the guidelines for pool safety on their website.