It’s amazing how quickly our little ones can get themselves into danger when all they want to do is explore their world. They can be surprisingly good at climbing or leaping like this family discovered. Their 2-year-old, Cody, scaled a folded and locked pool safety ladder in seconds!
A Perth mum filmed her toddler son scaling a pool fence to get to their swimming pool, using his toy buggy. The little boy pushed his toy buggy to the fence, climbed on to its roof, and unlatched the pool gate. Even the safety features of a fenced pool are no match for a determined child.
So how should we protect our little ones around pools and spas? Here are our top 5 tips.
1) Adult supervision
Pool fencing is essential by law, but supervision is key to pool safety for little children. Proper supervision means:
- A cursory glimpse in the direction of the pool is not enough. An adult must always supervise swimming children by maintaining constant visual contact.
- With toddlers and novice swimmers, an adult must be in the pool, an arms-length away. Even if a little child can swim, caution is advisable. Even 20 – 60 seconds could make a
the difference for a toddler or young child.
- Children “lifeguards” should not be entrusted with the responsibility of supervising other
- If supervising older children who can swim, it’s good practice to wear a swimming costume and be ready to jump in if there’s an emergency. Every second counts, and having clothes on could slow down rescue.
- If you leave the immediate pool area, even momentarily, take the children with you or call a
different adult to supervise.
2) Pool Fencing Safety
According to Victorian laws, all private spas and swimming pools that can hold over 30cm of water must have fencing. This law applies to all residential properties that have pools and spas. This could include:
- Above-ground swimming pools.
- Bathing and wading pools.
- Hot tubs.
- Indoor swimming pools.
- In-ground swimming pools.
All fences or barriers must meet Australian Standard 1926.1 safety requirements. At a minimum, pool fencing must:
- Be higher than 120 cm.
- Not have an opening at the bottom of the fence which exceeds 10 cm.
- Have pool gates that are self-closing and self-latching.
- Not have objects propped against it, e.g., toy buggys that a toddler can climb.
Safety barriers can only be effective if used correctly. Therefore, we recommend that you:
- Never prop a gate open; always keep the pool gate shut and with its latch/lock
- Repair any worn out parts, e.g., a faulty latch. Inspect the gate to check for any gaps that
- Clear the fenced area of any items that could be used to scale the fence – for example,
boxes, chairs, potted plants, etc.
- Have a resuscitation CPR chart in your pool area.
3) Take precautions
Here are some extra precautions that you should implement to protect your loved ones:
- Familiarise your child with water safety by enrolling him or her in swimming lessons. Infants as young as 2 months can take swimming classes.
- Supervise your child even when in a paddling pool. Empty the paddling pool immediately after the swimming session ends.
- Empty bathtubs, buckets, troughs, and sinks immediately after use.
- Make sure that any floatation device, i.e., water wings, inflatable vests, lifesaver rings, and water mats meet the relevant Australian Standard. Always supervise your child even when
they’re wearing floatation devices.
4) Teach children about pool safety
If you take your children to a swimming pool, make sure that you supervise them. A lifeguard provides supervision for all pool users, but you’re responsible for supervising your child to ensure his or her safety.
Always keep your child within reach. Little adventurous children can wander off to the deep end of the pool if not monitored.
For older children, it can be a good idea to explain rules to help your child stay safe, for instance:
- Explain that he or she must obey lifeguards instructions, e.g., swim in the baby pool ONLY and do not go to the deep end of the swimming pool.
- Follow all pool rules without exception. Don’t give in to peer pressure and don’t disobey pool rules.
- Be aware of other swimmers. Don’t swim in crowded spaces, or around rowdy children.
- Watch out for little children.
5) Learn first aid for toddlers and small children
Lastly, if there is an accident, knowing first aid can literally be a lifesaver. Enrol in a first aid and CPR course specially designed for toddlers and children. The CPR techniques used on children differ from adult CPR.
In the case of suspected drowning:
- Remove the child from the pool immediately. If the child is not responding, call an ambulance straight away on 000.
- Check the airway and make sure that it’s clear.
- Check for breathing. If not breathing, start CPR until help arrives.
For advice on pool safety, get in touch with our professional team today.