Big Day Masthead
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Is your backyard pool safe?

Ashleigh Went

This summer has seen a huge number of drownings, unfortunately including people in our own region losing their lives in drowning incidents.

It’s a big problem on a national scale, and news of these tragedies often begs the question about what needs to be done to keep people safe around the water –particularly with a long, hot summer still ahead of us.

There’s no easy answer but each of us can do our bit –starting in our own backyards.

Home swimming pool fences and barriers aren’t a guarantee, but in conjunction with close adult supervision, they’re an essential part of backyard pool safety.

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:

Do:

  • 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.

Don’t:

  • 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.

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author

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