Penrith City Council is issuing a warning about defective and unfenced swimming pools, and is calling on residents to ensure all pools – especially inflatable pools – are properly fenced off.
Penrith City Council’s General Manager, Warwick Winn said residents shouldn’t forego their family’s safety as they look to enjoy the warmer months.
“Inflatable pools are a cheap way to keep cool, but they can also be a source of tragedy,” Mr Winn said.
“Portable and inflatable pools have the same drowning risk as permanent pools which is something most people neglect.
“Too often shoppers look at the cheap cost of these inflatable pools without thinking of the safety requirements to operate them.”
Active supervision by an adult is the best protection against drowning, but a pool barrier is another layer of protection if supervision is interrupted. Children aged under five continue to be the age group that accounts for the largest number of drowning deaths in swimming pools in Australia.
It is important to ensure that home pools, including portable and inflatable pools that hold 30cm of water or more, are properly fenced with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Often toddlers wander around backyards and get into trouble because the pool is unfenced, or the gate is propped open.
“Many people don’t realise when they buy one of these inflatable pools that it’s illegal to have an unfenced pool in a backyard, this is not only to simply obey the law, but to make sure your family members or their play mates are safe,” Mr Winn said.
Council has a zero tolerance compliance program and will issue on the spot fines of $550 if it is found that the gate of a pool has been propped open or there is an unfenced portable or inflatable pool.
On average each year, 13 children drown and another 84 suffer serious near-drowning incidents.
Portable and inflatable pools have the same drowning risk as permanent pools, in fact 1 in 5 of the swimming pools in which children drowned between 2006 and 2015 was portable.
To help prevent children drowning:
- Have a compliant pool barrier that is used correctly and maintained regularly
- An adult should be within arm’s reach of swimming children
- Teach children water familiarisation and swimming skills
- Learn CPR. Remember that any attempt is better than none at all