According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the 5 years between 1999 and 2003, 286 children drowned in Australia. Of these, 80% (229) were under 5 years of age. In most cases, their deaths were avoidable, which makes their deaths all the more tragic. Young children are mobile but are generally too young to appreciate hazards and cannot be relied upon to follow instructions, such as “Stay away from the water”, if they are unsupervised.
The most common location of drowning of children under 5, between 1992 and 1998, was a private swimming pool, with almost half of all drowning occurring there. A study commissioned in Brisbane identified inadequate pool fencing as the primary cause.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that all governments have focused on pool safety. You need a fence around your swimming pool because it is a legal requirement. Even if you do not have young children yourself, you may have young children visiting at some point, or neighbouring young children may gain unsupervised access to your garden and pool.
The purpose of pool fencing is to stop children gaining access to the swimming pool without adult supervision. To this end it must be low enough that a child cannot crawl under it, high enough that they cannot climb over it and dense enough that they cannot go through it. It is imperative to ensure that there is nothing they could climb on, such as plant pots, outdoor furniture or large toys, in close proximity to the pool fence either. Access to the pool must be through a self-closing, self-latching, outward-opening gate with the latch at the top.
The exact regulations vary between states, so if you have a swimming pool in your garden, it is advisable to engage a pool fencing professional to ensure you meet your local requirements. Penalties are imposed for non-compliance and the consequences can be tragic.
Will a pool fence spoil my garden?
Your swimming pool is likely the focal point of your garden and, as such, you do not want to detract from its beauty. There are a wide variety of pool fences on the market; choose one that complements your house and garden. Your options include a natural material like wood or low-maintenance, modern materials such as aluminium or vinyl. Your pool fencing professional can show you what is available and offer styling advice.
Finally, be sure that once your pool fence is fitted you maintain it. Check regularly for gaps, holes or other damage. Remember, the primary cause of drowning in children less than 5 years of age was inadequate pool fencing. Don’t let it be your inadequate pool fencing.Read More