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Is your backyard pool safe?

Ashleigh Went

If you’re one of the lucky Canberrans to have access to a backyard pool this summer – congratulations!

There’s nothing better than the ability to stroll from house to cool oasis in seconds. However, as the saying goes, with great relaxation comes great responsibility. As we’re all aware, the dark side of summer comes in the form of tragic accidents that can occur if proper attention isn’t paid to backyard pool safety. To prevent accidents from happening, it’s everyone’s job to be informed about the necessary precautions.

Pool barriers are designed to stop children under five years from accessing the pool or pool area unsupervised. However, having a fence or barrier isn’t enough –it needs to meet certain safety guidelines. Here are our tips for making sure your pool fence and barriers meet minimum safety standards:


  • Have a pool gate that opens outward from the pool, that swings back and latches after being opened even just a little.
  • Make sure that the gaps between the pool gate and the fence/barrier, and the bottom of the gate or fence/barrier and the ground, are both less than 100 mm.
  • Check that any walls that are part of the barrier or fence are free of doors or windows that provide direct access to the pool area.
  • Regularly check for rusted, loose or missing screws and that all parts of the barrier are in place and secured to the fence structure.
  • Trim shrubs and trees near the fence so that they can’t be used by kids to climb over the barrier.


  • Have a gate latch less than 1.5 metres off the ground (out of reach from little hands).
  • Have climbable objects including furniture, pot plants or BBQs near the pool fence.
  • Leave toys lying around the pool when they’re not being used.
  • Build a pool fence/barrier near buildings or structures like retaining walls that can help a child climb over the barrier. Instead, create a new part of the fence that’s further away from these structures.
  • Prop the pool gate open, ever.

Checking your pool fence or other barrier complies with safety standards will give you peace of mind and allow you to get on with the business of having a fun and safe summer with your family. But remember, while a vital safety measure, fencing alone should not be relied on to protect against drowning risks. Always closely supervise the kids when they are in and around the pool and know how to perform CPR if an issue arises.

You don’t need to don a red one piece and a red and yellow swim cap to be a backyard lifeguard – it’s just a matter of practicing safety and educating yourself. The ACT Government’s Backyard Lifeguard website offers plenty of information and advice on how to keep our kids safe this summer, including a full Pool Barrier Safety Checklist. Pool owners should also consider getting a professional assessment of their pool’s compliance with current safety standards.

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorials, click here.


Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author