Time running out for pool owners
Australia’s favourite water safety advocate Laurie Lawrence has joined forces with the Palaszczuk Government to remind Queenslanders of the looming compliance deadline for pool safety laws.
Pool owners have until 30 November to ensure their pools are compliant, or they risk being fined.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Leeanne Enoch said with less than a week of the five-year grace period remaining, many people have taken the right steps toward compliance.
“We know that pool inspectors right around the state are flat out with bookings, which means many people are taking action to get their pools up to scratch,” Minister Enoch said.
“We also know that many people have already registered their pools with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
“In the last 12 months approximately 17,000 pools have been registered, which is almost three times more than each of the previous two years.
“Just in the last month since we launched a final awareness campaign, there have been more than 1,000 (TBC) registrations.”
The current pool safety laws commenced on 1 December 2010 and were introduced to better protect children aged under five from drowning.
Minister Enoch said the government was proud to be partnering with respected pool safety advocate Laurie Lawrence.
“Mr Lawrence understands that when it comes to kids and pools, deaths can be prevented when there’s appropriate education, supervision and appropriate fencing,” Ms Enoch said.
Mr Lawrence said the bottom line was that pool fences save lives.
“Remember Kids Alive – do the five, and make sure you make your pool compliant,” Mr Lawrence said.
“The gate is the weakest link so it’s important to check that it latches and self-closes, and if it has a key lock, secure it when it’s not in use.
“We can all have a lot of fun in swimming pools, but it’s important to respect the risks and do everything we can to protect our young kids.”
Ms Enoch said while every pool owner needs to register their pools, not every owner will need to book a pool inspection.
“Owners need to make sure their pools meet the safety standard, but only need a pool safety certificate to sell or lease their property,” Ms Enoch said.
From 1 December, local councils will be responsible for enforcing the laws which replaced 11 different standards to make it easier for owners to be comply.
For more information about the pool safety standards visit www.qbcc.gov.au
Recording of the Media Release 24th November 2015
CEO of Kidsafe Queensland said that the many of the fatal and non-fatal drowning’s occur when the gate is no longer self-closing or has been propped open.
“It is essential that everyone check their pool gate hinges and latches and make sure they self close and lock,” Susan said, “the number of young children drowning in pools is unacceptable.
“We have a week to make sure our pools meet the legislation which includes 4-sided fences.
“Kids have drowned by crawling through the cat or dog flap”.
In a study conducted in Queensland 2002-2008 for children and adolescents aged 0-19yrs (and recently published) **:
Every year in Queensland about 63 children aged between 0-4 years are rescued from a pool – and 6 of those will be fatal.
80% of pool drowning is in the age groups of 0-4 years. 75% of pool drowning is in the age group of 1-4yrs.
1-4yrs are particularly vulnerable and, generally after 4yrs have possibly started swimming lessons
2 year olds have the highest drowning rate (37/100,000) and a risk 18 times that of 5-19yrs of drowning in a pool.
In the 0-4ears age group a child is three times more likely to drown in an unfenced pool, or a pool that has access from the house, than a pool fenced on four sides – which is the law in Queensland – no access to the pool from the house – you must have 4-sided fences.
Between 2 and 5 years climbable objects have often been used by this age group to gain access to the pool. These include pot plants, plastic chairs (both adult and child’s), and tricycles.
88% of kids 0-14yrs retrieved from pools were inadequately supervised (someone was not in the pool area). Social gatherings are a sure way to distract adults – so are mobile phones.
Kids have been retrieved after having been found head first in the water in a float ring. They are unable to right themselves. Jumping into a ring from the side of the pool can result in the child’s arms being caught and held above the head.
For every child or adolescent (0-19yrs) drowning fatality in Queensland, ten others are rescued, revived and survive. Two out of three of those survivors will be admitted to hospital.
Incidence rates associated with all drowning events in 2002-2008 (0-19yrs) showed an increasing trend. The largest proportion of this trend is associated with non-fatal drowning which increased significantly.
Pools accounted for half of all drowning events, and 43% were fatal.
4-sided pool fencing is the safest way to protect young children from drowning.
All pools must have a self-closing gate and a fence that is well-maintained. Never prop the pool gate open. Always have your child within arm’s reach when your child is in the pool.
In 2010 legislation in Queensland put laws into place that mean all pools must be listed on a Pool Register.
It was also mandatory for any property with a pool which was rented or sold would be required to be certified (by a qualified inspector) that the fence and pool surrounds were safe.
Between 2010 and 2015 a phase-in period was allowed for ALL pools in Queensland to acquire a pool fence compliance certificate by December 2015.
** Corresponding Author: Belinda Wallis
PhD Candidate / Injury Prevention Researcher
Centre for Children’s Burns & Trauma Research
University of Queensland Child Health Research Centre
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