Pool fence inspections to keep kids safe
  • Saturday 11 September 2010

Coast pool owners are being asked to check they have compliant pool fencing in place as the warmer weather approaches to help reduce the risk of children drowning or being injury in swimming pools.

Sunshine Coast Council is preparing a new round of inspections of residential properties with swimming pools and pool owners may be contacted by a council officer to arrange an inspection appointment.

Acting Building Services Manager Steven Tucker said it’s important to make sure pool fences are safe as summer gets closer.

“It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure they have compliant pool fencing, that the gate latches lock automatically and there are no climbable objects, like trees, furniture or pot plants, nearby which children could climb to gain access to the pool.

“Since the inspection programs began 6248 pools have been inspected, and even though pool fences are an important preventative measure you’ll be surprised to learn that only about 20 per cent of pool fences pass council’s first inspection.

“Although swimming pool safety is a combination of teaching kids to swim, having adult supervision at the pool and ensuring fences are properly installed and maintained.

“Drowning remains the single leading cause of death for Queensland children aged 1-4 years and most of those deaths occur in domestic swimming pools.

“Having a child drown because a fence was non-compliant, was improperly fenced or had the gate propped open has been a tragic reality for far too many Queensland parents.”

From 1992 to 2001, 56 children aged under five years drowned in residential swimming pools and spas in Queensland. Of these, 80 per cent drowned because the pool fence was non compliant, either improperly fenced or had the gate left open.

Pool numbers in Queensland have doubled since 1991 when the state’s toughest swimming pool safety laws were introduced. Despite this in 2008/2009 eight children drowned in swimming pools in Queensland.

If property owners are unsure whether their pool fence meets pool safety laws they can contact council to organise an inspection for a fee.