Drownings continue despite fence rules

INADEQUATE pool fencing continues to be a major contributing factor to the rate of drowning among children under five.

Pool fencing legislation is different in all the states and territories within Australia. In NSW the requirements for child-resistant barriers vary depending on when the pool was built and where the pool is located.

For pools built before August 1, 1990, access to the pool from the house must be restricted at all times. Windows and doors may form part of the barrier, but must be compliant.

For pools built after August 1, 1990, but before July 1, 2010, the pool must be surrounded by a fence that separates it from the house. Some exemptions apply to pools on very small properties (less than 230 square metres), large properties (two hectares or more) and those on waterfront properties.

Pools built after July 1, 2010, must be surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from the house.

The height of a pool fence must be at least 1.2 metres above the ground from finished ground level, and the gap at the bottom of the pool fence must not be more than 10 centimetres from finished ground level; gaps between any vertical bars in the fence must not be more than 10 centimetres and, to prevent children climbing over pool fences, any horizontal climbable bars on the fence must be at least 90 centimetres apart.

Check to ensure your pool gate is never propped open and is always kept shut and swings outwards (away from the pool area) and automatically locks (self-latches) when it closes.

Details: www.kidshealth.chw.edu.au/projects.

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