Contributed Article

Being prepared can save lives

14 April 2016

Shocking new figures show that 55% of children aged under five have drowned in a backyard spa or pool because of a faulty gate or a gate being left open.

The information was released by Royal Life Saving New South Wales, which works to prevent drowning and equip all Australians with water safety skills. It added how, in the last 13 years, 83 young children drowned in a backyard pool and 80 suffered neurological (brain) damage. 

Figures also show that up to 95% of all pools fail their inspection the first-time, with many of the issues relating to fencing or pool gates.

New legislation means that properties in NSW with a swimming pool or spa pool cannot be bought, sold or leased from 29 April 2016 without a valid certificate of compliance, or non-compliance issued from the NSW Swimming Pool Register.

95% of all pools fail their inspection the first-time

Royal Life Saving NSW CEO David Macallister said: “Autumn is still a time when we have gatherings around pools so make sure your spa or pool is up to scratch and be vigilant about safety and compliance.

“Do not assume your fence and gate are automatically compliant and meet legal requirements. Check everything and help us make sure children are as safe as they possibly can be.”

Minister for Local Government Paul Toole says the NSW Government is working very closely with Royal Life Saving to look at ways of making the community safer for young children in NSW.  He highlights that if pool gates were closed properly in the first place, it is likely it would halve the number of young people drowning in backyard pools.

Minister Toole said: “While there is no substitute for vigilant adult supervision of children, this change will ensure that new pool owners understand what they need to do to make their pools safe.”

Royal Life Saving NSW urges people to learn the skill of CPR, which they offer courses on and to visit the swimming pool register here. The website offers practical information on positive steps people can take to ensure they meet legal requirements.  

REINSW has created a one-stop resources page to help agents understand and comply with the new swimming pool laws. You can find it by clicking here.