NSW: Safety first: portable swimming pools
NSW Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox is today reminding families to be vigilant about children’s safety in and around portable pools, as we head into summer.
“Since 30 March, a new mandatory safety standard under the Australian Consumer Law has applied to all suppliers of portable pools,’’ Mr Mason-Cox said.
“The new Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard 2013 now requires all portable pools and their packaging to carry warning labels about the active supervision of children and the pools’ appropriate storage when not in use,” he said.
“For portable pools 300mm or more in height, pool fencing laws apply and consumers should consult with their local council before purchasing this product.”
Mr Mason-Cox said the mandatory standard was introduced to address the drowning risk portable pools posed to young children.
“Over the past nine months, NSW Fair Trading has been conducting a series of education and compliance programs to ensure businesses are aware of and complying with the mandatory standards,” he said.
“The first phase of the program saw NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) visit close to 350 retail outlets in February, as part of an education campaign about the mandatory labelling standards.
“In April, NSW Fair Trading visited 104 retailers and eight importers/distributors. “As a result of those checks, five traders were each issued with $550 penalty notices and 24 traders received formal warnings due to non-compliance.’’
Last month, NSW Fair Trading and ACCC inspectors visited a further 118 retailers with portable pools in stock, plus another 318 retailers considered likely to be stocking portable pools.
“While the compliance rate for the stores with pools in stock doubled to 65 per cent since February, there is still room for improvement,’’ Mr Mason-Cox said.
“Of those inspected last month, 41 traders were non-compliant, 27 traders were issued with 32 $550 penalty notices, 10 traders received formal warnings and one trader remains under investigation.”
Mr Mason-Cox said going forward retailers, importers and distributors could expect fewer warnings and more penalties if they were caught not carry the correct warnings.
Professor Danny Cass, Director of Trauma at the Westmead Children’s Hospital said portable swimming pools provided a source of enjoyment especially in the warm summer months and were increasing in popularity due to low cost and easy set-up.
“Unfortunately, in the last few years, we have seen too many cases of children drowning or near-drowning in a portable pool due to inadequate supervision or lack of a fence,” he said.
“Thankfully, in 2013, fewer children were brought to the hospital due to these incidents. “We encourage the community to continue to be vigilant about safety in and around portable pools to continue this downward trend.”
Mr Mason-Cox said retailers and other suppliers should proactively check the www.productsafety.gov.au website for any safety standards and bans applying to the products they sold. “Businesses can also register for free email updates telling them when there are changes to the laws, he said.
“NSW Fair Trading will continue to inspect the marketplace.’’
Businesses caught selling non-compliant products could face court-imposed fines of up to $1.1 million for corporations or $220,000 for other businesses.