Consumer Protection Western Australia is reminding parents and carers of young children about the potential risk of infants drowning in shallow portable pools this summer.
While swimming pools with a depth of more than 30 centimetres require a safety fence, portable pools with a depth of less than 30 centimetres do not.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said even small and shallow portable pools that are becoming increasingly popular can pose a serious drowning hazard to small children.
“The shallowness of a portable pool gives people a reduced sense of the risk posed, but it has been proven that these products can be dangerous if not used properly,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Young children must be actively supervised at all times and those charged with that task should not be distracted even for a moment, whether it’s answering a call on a mobile phone or hanging out laundry.
“The greatest danger occurs if the portable pool is not completely emptied after use and remains a very real risk if even a small amount of water is left in it. Consumers should ensure that the pool is emptied, deflated and stored securely away from children after use. If left out, the pool can still fill up with water from sprinklers or when it rains.”
In the past three months, product safety officers at Consumer Protection visited 33 stores and inspected 139 pools to ensure they were complying with new mandatory safety standards regarding safety warning labels. Only a few were found not to fully comply with the standards and the minor issues were quickly rectified.
The new national standard, which came into effect in March this year, means portable swimming pools must display a safety sign warning of the potential of drowning and advising that children must be supervised by an adult at all times. The label also advises consumers to empty and store the pool safely after use.
If the depth of the portable swimming pool is 30 centimetres or more, or is capable of being filled to that depth, the warning label must include advice that pool fencing laws apply and that local government authorities should be consulted about fencing requirements.
“Suppliers of portable pools including manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers must ensure that they are complying with the new standard in regard to warning labels or face heavy fines and possibly expensive product recalls as a consequence,” Ms Driscoll said.
A national consumer awareness campaign about portable pool safety will run until the end of summer.
Safety concerns about portable pools can be reported to Consumer Protection by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.