NSW puts safety first when it comes to portable pools

Published: 
28 Mar 2014

New South Wales Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres is reminding all suppliers, retailers and purchasers of portable swimming pools that new mandatory safety standards come into effect on 30 March 2014.

“From this Sunday, all portable swimming pools supplied in Australia must carry warning labels both on the pool and the packaging to alert adults to the significant risks pools pose to children,” Mr Ayres said.

“Retailers and suppliers who sell pools without the required labels from Sunday will face court-imposed fines of up to $1.1-million for corporations and $220,000 for individuals, plus on-the-spot fines of $550.”

Mr Ayres said in 2013 NSW hospital emergency departments handled 104 cases of drowning or near drowning in a pool, with 69 per cent of those being toddlers aged 0-4 years.

“While these statistics do not distinguish between portable swimming pools and other types of pool, the risk of children dying or suffering brain damage from a lack of oxygen is the same for all types of pools,” he said.

“Unfortunately, young children are attracted to any sort of pool and are at significant risk even in very small amounts of water. They can get into difficulty very quickly, and often silently.”

In the lead up to the introduction of the new safety standard, NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have visited retailers across the State over the past two months to assess the industry's preparedness.

Mr Ayres said Fair Trading and the ACCC visited 218 retail outlets in NSW with portable pools in stock, plus another 117 retail outlets considered likely to have sold portable pools in the past or to stock portable pools in the future.

The inspections covered metropolitan Sydney, Tweed Heads, Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Bathurst, Orange, Broken Hill, Goulburn, Dubbo, Parkes, Queanbeyan, Wagga Wagga, Albury and surrounding areas.

“Only 33 per cent of the NSW retail outlets stocking portable pools were completely compliant, which is disturbing news,” he said.

“These results show that the industry has considerable work to do to ensure all stock supplied from 30 March is compliant.”

Under the new standard, both the portable swimming pool and its packaging must display a permanent warning message.

If the depth of the portable swimming pool is less than 30 centimetres, the warning message must include the following statement:

WARNING!
Children have drowned in portable swimming pools.
Ensure active adult supervision at all times.
Do not leave children unsupervised in or around the pool—keep them
within arms’ reach.
Empty and store safely after use.

If the depth of the portable swimming pool is 30 centimetres or more, or if the portable swimming pool is capable of being filled to a depth of 30 centimetres or more, the warning message must include the following statement:

WARNING!
Children have drowned in portable swimming pools.
Ensure active adult supervision at all times.
Do not leave children unsupervised in or around the pool—keep them
within arms’ reach.
Pool fencing laws apply to this pool. Consult your Local Government
Authority for fencing requirements.

The warning must be permanently printed or embossed on the portable swimming pool and legible from a distance of three metres to a person aged over 18 years with normal vision.

In addition the following safety sign, not less than 4 centimetres in diameter, must be permanently printed or embossed on the portable swimming pool and placed next to the warning message.

Mr Ayres said the ACCC would be writing to many of the businesses to remind them of the need to comply by 30 March.

“After that date, Fair Trading will be out checking NSW retailers and suppliers to ensure they are only selling fully-compliant stock.”

For more information about Fair Trading go to: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Follow Fair Trading on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FairTradingNSW and Twitter
at http://twitter.com/NSW_FairTrading

Contact details

Media: Sophie Onikul 0428 596 319

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