Five Toddlers Drown in QLD Swimming Pools Every Year – How Safe Is Your Pool?

Why should swimming pools be fenced? 

On average, five toddlers drown in Queensland swimming pools every year.  Appropriate pool fencing can genuinely contribute to reducing this number.

Who is responsible? 

The owner of the swimming pool is responsible for installing and maintaining a pool fence and gate. If a tenant buys a pool that requires fencing, they are classed as the pool owner and must ensure that the pool is fenced.

Is having my pool fenced enough? 

No.  You must also:

  • Maintain your pool fence and gate latch
  • Ensure the gate is always closed and the latch locks automatically
  • Regularly check your fence for damage and ensure objects nearby do not allow a child to climb over the fence.

 What about above-ground pools? 

If your pool is above ground, you must ensure that:

  • The walls of the pool are at least 1.2 metres high all the way around
  • The sides of the pool are free of bracing, indents, projections, and filtration equipment
  • Any pieces of equipment (e.g. ladders and filters) are enclosed by a fence with a self-closing gate.

 Does your fence comply?

Checklist for pool fences

Before contacting your local council for an inspection, you should check the safety of your pool fence by completing the checklist below*.

Check your pool fence

  • I have a pool fence separating my pool from my neighbour.
  • I have a pool fence preventing access from my house to my pool.
  • The outside of my pool fence is at least 1.2 metres high all the way around.
  • The bottom of my pool fence is less than 10 centimetres off the ground all the way around.
  • All vertical or near vertical fence posts are less than 10 centimetres apart.
  • All horizontal or near horizontal fence rails are at least 90 centimetres apart.
  • The top of my pool fence is at least 1.1 metres above any low horizontal fence rails.
  • My pool fence is well maintained – there are no holes, or broken posts or rails.
  • My pool fence is at least 1.2 metres away from any object that would allow a child to climb over the fences – BBQs, trees, rocks, shrubs, furniture, etc.

Check your pool gate

  • My pool gate closes by itself from any open position.
  • My pool gate latches by itself when it closes.
  • My pool gate opens outwards, away from the pool.
  • I never prop open or tie back my pool gate, or otherwise obstruct it from automatically closing.
  • I have a latch release which is at least 1.5 metres above the ground or covered so a child cannot open the gate.

Building a new pool

  • I have a sign warning people that I have a pool under construction, and it is clearly visible from the road at the front of my property.
  • I have obtained certification for the fence around my new pool prior to filling it with water.

Check the doors and windows

Check any doors and windows that could allow a child to go from your house directly to the pool area.  If the pool was built after 1991, there should be no such doors unless your local council has granted an exemption and it is still valid.

All windows should be child-resistant.  This means that windows are at least 1.2 metres above the floor or do not open wider than 10 centimetres or have been fitted with security screens.

*This checklist applies to pools constructed after February 1991.  For more detailed information on pools constructed before February 1991 visit www.dip.qld.gov.au or contact your local council.

Pool fencing laws

For more information on state government pool fencing legislation, contact the Department of Infrastructure and Planning:

Department of Infrastructure and Planning

PO Box 15009 City East Qld 4002 Australia

Tel 1800 153 262 free-call

Fax +61 7 3237 1248

poolfencing@dip.qld.gov.au

www.dip.qld.gov.au/poolfencing

Your local council may have pool fencing laws with additional requirements.  You should abide by both state legislation and local laws.  Contact your local council for information and advice on the pool fencing standards in your area, or to arrange a compliance inspection.

CPR signs

For pools constructed on or after 1 October 2003, there must be a sign with CPR instructions clearly displayed near the pool.  To obtain a CPR sign contact the Queensland Ambulance Service, the Royal Life Saving Society of Queensland or your local pool shop.

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