Quick tips Pool safety

The backyard swimming pool is an Aussie icon, providing good times and healthy recreation for people of all ages. Swimming pools allow us to get together with friends and family and to share fun, fitness and relaxation.

But they can also pose a risk. As a pool owner, you have a responsibility to provide a safe and suitable environment. By following a few basic guidelines, you can ensure that everyone stays safe.

  • Supervise children at all times in and around the water. If you need to leave the pool or water area, even for just a moment, take your child with you.
  • Make sure your pool or spa has compliant fencing installed, complete with childproof locking. A swimming pool fence is not a substitute for adult supervision.
  • Ensure that furniture, plants, trees and other items that can facilitate entry over the pool fence are not accessible
  • Be aware that hair, body parts and bathing suit strings and tassels can become entangled in an improperly covered pool drain or suction point.
  • Display a resuscitation chart on your pool fence.
  • Take a CPR course so you can act in an emergency if required.
  • Familiarise children with water and enrol them in learn-to-swim classes.
  • Make sure all pool users are warned against covering or sitting on drains and suction points. Doing so can cause injury or, in extreme cases, death.
  • Never put your head under water in a spa.
  • Empty paddling pools, baths, basins, sinks and troughs when not in use.
  • Drowning takes only a few seconds and is silent — don’t take your eyes off children when they are in and around water.
  • Most backyard pools are too shallow for diving. Place ‘No Diving’ signs around the pool.
  • Be aware that poorly designed pools and spas can create an entrapment hazard. Enlist a professional to check your pool and spa to ensure safety. Replace any broken or missing suction covers and have anti-entrapment covers fitted if needed.
  • Ensure that spas have a ‘Spa Pool Safety Rules Sign’ prominently displayed.

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are especially at risk of drowning in backyard pools. Royal Life Saving Australia recommends restricting access to water and conducting constant supervision of toddlers when around the pool. RLSA also offers courses in first aid, water safety and resuscitation, which pool owners should consider completing.

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