Before you buy a portable pool make sure to follow the safety rules.
By Antoinette Spicer
A portable pool filled with cool water seems a great idea on a hot, sunny day – but take care. Despite them being small, cheap and temporary, you have to take measures to ensure little ones are kept safe.
In 2018, a fourteen-month-old drowned in a portable pool that hadn’t been properly fenced. This prompted a warning from the coroner for parents to stay vigilant and follow the rules.
What are the rules?
Portable pools, including inflatable ones, need to be treated in the same way as residential pools.
Any pool that can be filled to at least 400mm must have a physical barrier – such as a fence, gate, or door – that restricts access by children under five years of age (even if the pool is only partially filled).
If you have an unsafe pool area, you could be fined $5000 by council inspectors. If you don’t sort it, you could be up for a $200,000 fine, and $20,000 for each day it’s not fixed.
Manufacturers or sellers of any new pools that are at least 40cm deep must outline to consumers on the front of the packaging that they must have these barriers.
Be at least 1.2m high, measured from the ground.
Not easily climbed on by children.
Be less than 100mm from the ground; to stop children crawling under the fence.
Have no vertical gaps more than 100mm apart.
Where a building forms part of the barrier all doors must not be able to be opened by children and must either sound a warning when the door is open, or close automatically after use.
Have no objects within 1.2m of the barrier that could help children climb over.
Gates into the pool must:
Open away from the pool.
Not be able to be readily opened by children.
Water safety tips
Keep little ones close: It takes less than a minute for a small child to drown in only centimetres of water. Keep babies and toddlers within arms’ reach around all bodies of water.
Educate: Talk with children about water safety rules, including waiting until an adult can get in the water with them and not to run near pools.
Adult supervision: Don’t rely on older children to supervise younger ones. If you can, have an adult supervision roster where every grown-up takes a turn supervising so you can take a break.
Avoid distraction: Put your phone away when supervising children.
After use: Always empty a paddling pool and turn it upside down to prevent water collection.