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Pool Fencing Regulations In Queensland

An adequate barrier around a swimming pool is a critical component of child drowning prevention

While constant supervision of a young child around water is imperative, as any parent knows this is sometimes unachievable, and the installation of a standards-compliant pool fence represents another layer of protection that can assist in reducing the probability of a child becoming yet another drowning statistic.

Nearly 40% of homes in Qld enjoy the luxury of a pool in the backyard, it is estimated that at least 50% of these swimming pool fences are either inadequate or non-compliant with the established standards.

Why is compliance so important?

Over 40% of under 5 drowning deaths occur as a direct result of the child gaining access to the pool via a defective pool gate or fence. Child pool drowning statistics include those directly attributable to carelessly placed climbable objects such as outdoor furniture and pot plants which are a significant risk from the standpoint of young children being able to access a swimming pool area.

Historically, the approach taken by local, state and federal governments in respect of swimming pool fencing regulations has been inconsistent, and under current “pool fencing laws” there is no pool compliance certificate required for an existing pool fence.

However, the new State Government Pool Safety ordinance which will come into force from 1 December 2010 includes an amalgamation of the various related fencing standards into a single simplified set of standards. Not surprisingly, the aim of these new standards is to decrease the number of swimming pool fatalities and they will apply not only to new pools but also to existing swimming pools. Here is a summary of what the standards will entail, and what a pool owner can expect as a result:

– A QLD registry of residential swimming pools (like you register your dog!)
– Fencing for all pools deeper than 300mm – Pool inspection and issue of a compliance certificate valid for 2 years for backyard pools and 1 year for shared pools (within units/apartments complexes). Cost of pool inspection to be incurred by the pool owner.
– Mandatory inspections and compliance certificate required upon sale or lease of a property with a pool to another party – Fines issued for non-compliance
-New swimming pools to undergo final mandatory inspections – Compulsory CPR signage
– Child-resistant doors forming part of a pool barrier to no longer be regarded as an acceptable method of pool fencing Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age.

While compliance with minimum pool safety regulations gives a parent peace of mind, a parent would be foolish of to think that pool fencing compliance will guarantee their child is drown-proof!

There is no such thing as a drown-proof child, but vigilance in the supervision of your child in and around the water, and swim lessons, which can serve as a wonderful means by which a child learns to respect the water and to become competent in an aquatic environment, are an integral component of increasing a child’s level of water safety.

© 2010 Julia Ham/Hampton Swim School Pty Ltd