Portable pool dangers raised
THE Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) has urged parents and carers to be aware of the risks portable pools pose to young children.
The recent WA Ombudsman’s investigation found a quarter of WA toddlers who drowned in private pools between 2009 and 2015 did so in a portable pool or spa.
The best way to prevent toddlers from drowning is adult supervision around water at all times.
However, according to RLSSWA senior manager of health promotion and research Lauren Nimmo, steps should also be taken to restrict children’s access to portable pools.
“Portable pool owners may think that pool fencing rules don’t apply to them, but the fact is that if a portable pool can hold water 300mm or more deep it is subject to exactly the same pool fencing legislation as a below-ground pool,” she said.
In WA, the legislation identifies a pool must be surrounded by a compliant barrier at least 1200mm (1.2m) high on all sides with a self-closing and selflatching gate.
“Portable pool packaging must display warning labels stating that pool fencing legislation applies to the product, but people also need to do their research on the specific barrier requirements before buying one of these pools,” Ms Nimmo said.
“The ultimate cost of a $60 inflatable pool may be a sizeable fine from your local council or far more worryingly, the serious injury or even death of a child.”
The RLSSWA also recommended small paddling pools less than 300mm deep be emptied out after every use and stored on their side to prevent the pool filling with water from rain or sprinklers.
It also urged children should not be left in the care of older siblings around any pools. A portable pool or spa poses as great a risk of drowning as any other pool.