It may seem common sense, but a quick read about swimming pool safety could save a life.
Swimming pool safety may seem like a simple, common sense topic, but just like you’re required to go through the safety procedure every time you board a plane (whether you’re a frequent flyer or not), refreshing your memory on keeping you, your family and friends pool safe is a must-do in the lead up to and during swim season. After all, one small little oversight can lead to a disastrous outcome. Here are a few of the basics, plus a couple of extra tips you might not have thought of before.
Check your fence and gate
The strict laws around swimming pool fencing are there for good reason. Beyond the hefty fines for non-compliance, you can be putting yourself and your loved ones at risk if you aren’t meeting the requirements as set out in the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018. The basics of the legislation require home swimming pool fences to:
- Be secure and in good working order
- Be at least 1.2m high, and 1.8m high if backing onto a property boundary
- Be no more than 100mm from the ground
- Have no vertical gaps more than 100mm apart
You’ll want to double check for any rust or loose screws, wiggly fence panels, or any other damage that may not be immediately visible to the eye, but seem structurally concerning. Be sure to also run a check on your pool gate. Does it swing back to its closed position when released, and latch correctly on its own? Does the latch hold if the gate is pulled on? Is the area surrounding it clear of any tempting climbing platforms, to prevent little legs and arms from making their way up to unlatch it unsupervised? These are just a few of the priorities when making sure your pool area is safe and secure.
Check in and around the pool
If you read our last blog, you might have been encouraged to get stuck into some pool-ready prep work, which most likely means you’ve dusted off your pool equipment and have been testing your water. This also means you possibly have some nasty chemicals and electrical equipment ready for the taking by curious little ones or furry friends. A quick but thorough check for any items that may have been accidentally left out, along with an eye out for any unwanted creepy crawlies in nooks, crannies and the sheltered underneaths of your pool edges, will keep your household safe and ensure no unwanted surprises!
Create Safe-Splash Rules
What was your first thought when you saw the cover image to this blog post? We’ll bet you had an immediate flash of concern for that little one headed straight into the pool unsupervised on pursuit of the colourful ball. Vigilant supervision is well-accepted common sense when it comes to little ones and pools. Whether they’re just getting a taste for the water or are starting to become confident little future Ian Thorpe’s, a responsible adult should always be inside the pool fencing and actively supervising, remaining within arms reach, at all times. But what about when our little ones grow up and their water confidence increases? What is the right amount of supervision? Well, the first thing is to remember confidence and competence are two very different things, and it is important you are basing supervision needs on the latter rather than former. Before even considering moving from that arms length distance, ensure your swimmers are able to swim on their own without an aid, tread water, can easily get themselves back to the pool edge if required, and know to keep fingers and toes out of pool drains and suction points.
Even when you’re feeling comfortable with their skill level, it’s still always recommended to stay in constant visual contact, and in a position when you can quickly and easily jump in if required, especially if the young swimmer is splashing solo. If your children are tall enough to open the pool gate themselves, it’s also important to set the ground rule that they’re not to do so without an adult watching them, and ensure they understand why, so they’re not tempted to rebel.
Finally, it’s important to consider how you’ll ensure pool safety for those summer poolside parties with guests. With more adults around, it can be all to easy to find yourselves in the “I thought you were watching” scenario; a dangerous and possibly disastrous place to be. A handy hack to avoid such a situation? Bring in the Captain Safe-Splash wrist band! Easily rotated around the available adults, whoever is donning the fashion statement assumes responsibility for those in the pool so there is at least one active, responsible pair of eyes on the water at all times.
With a little extra prep work and some firm but fair splash-safe ground rules for all to follow, home swimming pools can become the centre of home entertainment over the warmer months and are a great way of bringing family and friends together in a fun and active way.
Wishing you a splash-safe swim season ahead!
Please note, these considerations are by no means exhaustive, and are information rather than advice, so be sure to familiarise yourself with the appropriate legislation in your state. You may like to run a safety checklist like that provided by Royal Lifesaving Australia, and consult a pool safety specialist if you have any questions or concerns about swimming pool safety in your home.