Pool fencing safety is paramount to making sure your family, friends, little ones and guests can enjoy your pool, with complete peace of mind.
On average, four young children die in Victoria each year in home swimming pools or spas, and many more are injured. Having safe pool fencing is one way to avoid such terrible tragedies, in addition, to close adult supervision when children are playing in or near a swimming pool. Pool fencing also protects adults, the elderly, pets and wildlife. So even if you don’t have children, pool fencing safety is still a worthwhile investment.
Indeed, pool fencing safety is so important that it is now required by Australian law.
Here are our 3 top tips for ensuring pool fencing safety:
1) Conduct a thorough safety self-assessment
- If you have a pool fence that was built a while ago, it may not have sufficient strength or rigidity. If your pool fencing is not strong enough, consider replacing your fencing with new and stronger materials. There are many good options for modern pool fencing materials, such as glass, mesh or vinyl.
- Check that your pool fencing is in good condition. A pool fence that has missing, loose or damaged palings could reduce the effective height of the fence, or provide a gap for a child or animal to enter the pool area.
- Make sure that your pool fencing is at least 120cm high from the ground level. Also, check that your pool fencing does not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm from the ground so that no child can climb under and through the gap.
- Check that your pool gates are working properly. Gates that open inwards are non-compliant and must be modified to open outwards. Gates also need to be self-closing and self-latching from all positions and the gate or components may need to be adjusted or replaced to ensure that the self-closing mechanism works properly. For example, check that the gate is secure and does not open if a child bounces on the bottom rail of the gate. Also, don’t forget to check that the hinges are tight enough to hold the gate.
- Make sure that the ground or garden beds surrounding the pool fence is clear, and do not inadvertently reduce the height of the barrier fence. For example, a high garden bed could provide easy access to the pool. Check that branches of nearby trees or shrubs do not give children easy access to the pool.
- Make sure that you don’t leave items nearby that could be used to climb over the fence. Young children could easily use nearby furniture, pumps, ladders or even pot plants to climb. Also check that fixed, climbable objects are shielded appropriately, such as power outlets, taps, light fittings or bracing on a deck within the pool area.
- If you have windows that open directly into a pool area, you must secure these windows, so that no child could access the pool through the window. Installing windows lock is not sufficient, because they can be easily left unlocked. Instead, you could fix a rivet or screw in the tracks of the window to prevent it from opening more than 10cm. Or, you could insert a permanent window chock. Alternatively, you could install permanently fixed security screens on windows that open into the pool area.
2) Regular fencing maintenance
As with any other part of your home, make sure your pool fencing is well-maintained. Regular maintenance can save you money, by avoiding expensive repairs down the track. For example, gates should last between five to ten years, if they’re well looked after. If you find any issues in your self-assessment, get them fixed straight away.
Regular maintenance should include the following:
- Check for loose bars or panels in the pool fencing.
- Check that the gate is working well and that the self-latching and self-closing mechanisms are working smoothly. Replace any bolts, screws and fasteners if they are not tight and in good order. Oil the hinges, locks and latches if the gate is not closing smoothly.
If you are not confident of performing maintenance yourself, then you could always engage a qualified tradesperson to help.
3) Periodic pool fencing inspections by a professional
New regulations for spa and pool safety came into force in Victoria on 1 December 2019, which require owners to register their pools and spas with local councils and arrange for inspection and certification.
This is to ensure that safety is up to professional standards. Furthermore, the pool fencing must be re-certified every four years, to ensure that safety standards continue to be met.
If you want to feel truly confident about the safety of your pool fencing, there is no substitute for professional advice.
Ensuring pool fencing safety will go a long way to keeping your loved ones safe. And of course, constant adult supervision is still required when children are around the pool. Above all, safety around your pool or spa must be a priority.
Have a question or need some assistance with pool safety? Contact us here.