As we move into the warmer months, Bega Valley Shire Council is urging pool owners to make safety a priority.
Owners of any swimming pools or spas capable of holding 30cm or more of water (including those that are portable and inflatable) are legally required to register them on the NSW Swimming Pool Register – this can be done for free at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
Pools must be completely surrounded by a compliant pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate, while spas may be fitted with a child-resistant lockable lid.
Pools and spas that hold 2000 litres of water or more may also need development consent from Council.
Council’s Environmental Health and Building Coordinator, Jonathon Pyke, said that with an average of 15 children aged 0-4 dying from drowning in pools every year in Australia, vigilance is essential.
“Regularly checking the effectiveness of pool fences and gates, actively supervising children around the water and never propping pool gates open are just some of the commonsense yet important measures that all owners should take,” Mr Pyke said.
“The ‘Kids Alive – Do the Five’ water safety program https://kidsalive.com.au spells out the five key steps that ensure safety is maximised.
“As we all know drowning happens quickly and silently and distractions like answering the phone, attending to another child, or ducking inside to grab something can have tragic consequences.
“Swimming lessons are great, but they are no substitute for active supervision and a pool fence in good working order.
“Self-assessment checklists to assist with the compliance of your pool fencing are available on the NSW Swimming Pool Register, alternatively you can arrange for a Council officer to inspect your pool or spa by phoning (02) 6499 2222.
“A Council inspection costs $150 and if your pool or spa is found to be compliant, you will be issued with a Certificate of Compliance,” Mr Pyke said.
Photograph: Secure and compliant pool fencing is essential for keeping children safe around backyard pools.