Swimming Pool Safety Initiative
Sadly, a total of 8 children drowned in NSW backyard swimming pools between 2006 and 2009.
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in very young children who lack the cognitive and water skills to deal with the danger.
With over 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, swimming pool safety is a vital issue that affects the whole community.
The Department of Local Government is undertaking a swimming pool safety initiative to increase awareness of the dangers in and around swimming pools for children during impending summer season.
Swimming Pool Laws Brochure (filesize: 89KB)
Home pool safety in a box
Home Pool Safety in a Box provides a range of "Keep Watch" strategies to keep children safe around the pool including supervision, resuscitation, water familiarisation and pool fencing.
This is a swimming pool incentive released by Royal Life Saving, NSW and can be purchased for $49.50 plus $9.90 postage and handling.
Included in the Box:
- Learn CPR - Personal Learning Program allows you to learn the core skills of CPR in under 30 minutes
- Home Pool Safety Checklist
- Keep Watch Home Pool Safety booklet
- Keep Watch 'Designated Child Supervisor' hat
For more information, please refer to the You can be a lifesaver brochure or contact Tamworth Regional Council.
The Swimming Pools Act
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 prescribes the fencing requirements of backyard swimming pools in NSW.
Some other safety requirements are prescribed including the requirement for a CPR sign to be displayed near the pool.
The Swimming Pools Regulation
The Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 was re-made on 1 September 2008. It calls up AS1926.1-2007 Swimming Pool Safety, Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools, which includes new requirements for non-climbable zones, mesh sizes for fences, retaining walls that form part of a barrier and balconies that project into the pool area.
It is important to note that exemption from fencing swimming pools on rural properties has been withdrawn. All swimming pools constructed after 1 July 2010 now must be surrounded by a child resistant barrier complying with the Regulations.
These new requirements apply to new pools only and do not significantly increase costs. Existing pools, as defined by the Act, will not be required to comply unless there are substantial alterations made to the child resistant barrier. See Review of Swimming Pools Act 1992 for further information.
The Regulation also requires that councils have the following documentation available for public inspection at no cost:
- Guideline 7 Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation - This Guideline is available at the Australian Resuscitation Council website at www.resus.org.au. By registering at the website visitors can access and print the guideline free of charge.
- AS1926.1-2007, Australian Standard Swimming Pool Safety Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools - This Standard (as amended 5 May 2008) is available for purchase at www.saiglobal.com.
The Australian Standard
For copyright reasons, Council cannot make copies of the Australian Standard, AS1926.1-2007 Swimming Pool Safety, Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools, available to councils or other persons or bodies.
It is important to note that the maximum requirement of the clause as it relates to the Standard is that Council allow members of the public to attend any of their respective offices, libraries or outlets to look at (but not print or take any copy away of) the Standard during ordinary business hours.
While the Regulation refers to AS1926.1-2007 as published on 12 July 2007 as the relevant Standard, the 5 May 2008 version may also be used as this version only corrects typographical errors in, and makes minor clarification of, the 12 July 2007 version of the Standard.
Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2010
Recent amendments made to the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2010 mean that from 1 September 2010 contracts for the sale of land must include a warning in relation to a land owner's obligations under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 which states that:
"An owner of a property on which a swimming pool is situated must ensure that the pool complies with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992. Penalties apply. Before purchasing a property on which a swimming pool is situated, a purchaser is strongly advised to ensure that the swimming pool complies with the requirements of that Act."
More information on obtaining a Swimming Pool Certificate.
Importance of supervision, pool barrier maintenance and CPR
It is important to remember that while fencing may assist in reducing drownings in backyard pools, the most effective way to prevent drownings is for children to be adequately supervised by a parent or another responsible adult.
Research conducted on child drownings in backyard swimming pools indicates that the most common contributing factors are inadequately fenced pools and human error (for example, people leaving the gate open, or fences not being maintained in good condition).
People choosing to have a pool have a responsibility to ensure that pool safety barrier(s) and gate(s) are installed, operated and maintained to the Australian Standard referred to in the Regulation.
It is also important that parents and others responsible for supervising children know how to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The Royal Life Saving Society of NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW conduct CPR courses. All supervising adults are encouraged to undertake CPR training.