NSW: Pool safety warning from fair trading

6 Jan 2014

Acting Fair Trading Commissioner John Tansey today issued a warning to consumers about the dangers presented by inflatable and portable pools.

“While there are stringent local government regulations mandating fencing surrounding in-ground pools in NSW, these regulations do not necessarily apply to all portable and inflatable pools,” Mr Tansey said.

“Many injuries and sadly, even some fatalities, have taken place in the seemingly harmless paddling pool.

“Never leave a young child unattended in and around water no matter how shallow it is. Keep children within arms’ reach and never rely on older children to supervise.

“Any pool, whether portable, inflatable or in-ground that is deeper than 30 centimetres must be surrounded by a swimming pool fence in New South Wales.”

Mr Tansey said according to a recent Royal Life Saving Society report, children under five accounted for nearly half of all swimming pool drowning deaths, with falls into water accounting for 81 per cent of those deaths.

“Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable around portable or inflatable pools,” he said. “They are also far more likely to get into trouble if a flotation devices or inflatable toy they are relying on to stay afloat fails.

“Check children’s flotation devices and inflatable pool toys and look for signs of wear and tear. Never leave a child unattended when they are using flotation devices.”

Mr Tansey said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in partnership with state and territory consumer protection agencies, will be enforcing a new mandatory safety standard for portable pools and their retail packaging, which will require mandatory safety warnings from March 2014.

The ACCC has also provided consumers with a list of safety tips around portable pools that include:

  • Always empty smaller pools when not in use.
  • Always store portable pools safely away from young children when not in use. Store the pool to prevent small amounts of water being collected in the pool due to rain or nearby sprinklers. 
  • Ensure larger inflatable or portable pools are surrounded by a swimming pool fence. 
  • Consult your local government authority for fencing requirements. 
  • Always actively supervise children from within arm’s reach when they are in and around the water. 
  • Never rely on older children to supervise younger children, no matter how confident you are about their ability to watch the younger child.

For further information on portable pool safety and the upcoming mandatory safety standard follow the links or go to www.productsafety.gov.au/portablepools

For more information about Fair Trading go to the Fair Trading website.

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