Swimming Pool Safety for Kids - 12 Ways to Make Your Pool Fence and Gate More Safe for Children

by Pool Builders on 06-29-2011 in Articles

Every pool owning parent understands the importance of a safe swimming pool and secure fencing. Sometimes, however, it can be all too easy to overlook vital details, or underestimate an adventurous child's ability to work around these restrictions.

My home state of Queensland, Australia recently introduced some very strong pool safety laws, admirably designed to make all pool fences in the region as child-safe as possible. While the rest of the world has no legal obligation to follow these steps, it makes a terrific guideline for every careful pool owner, and I can't recommend them enough.

While the following guide is by no means comprehensive, it covers the most important pool fencing regulations our safety inspectors will check. By following these steps when building or improving your pool fence, you will avoid some of the biggest everyday child hazards.

Step one:

Ensure all gates can close fully and naturally without the need to apply any extra force. This will help prevent the very common and dangerous mistake of fences being left open by mistake.

Step two:

Make sure the gate's latch or handle is safely out of reach. This means at least one and a half metres from the ground; preferably higher.

Step three:

Avoid any wide gaps between the gate and fence. (Here in Queensland, Australia, the widest gap allowed is 1cm!)

Step four:

Make sure the gap between the ground and bottom of the fence is less than 10cm; preferably even less. Leave no opportunity for a child to even think digging or squeezing underneath is an option.

Step five:

Remove all external objects from the fenceline. This means no hanging towels, clothes, skipping ropes, lights or even vines. Any of these objects could feasibly help a young child climb over.

Step six:

Keep all trees, vines and shrubs near your swimming pool very well trimmed.

Step seven:

Purchase a large, clear, step-by-step CPR instruction sign. It is essential that any guest or temporary supervisor will be in a position to deal with emergencies, however unlikely. This simple step has saved many lives and will continue to do so.

Step eight:

Remove any tables, chairs, plants, benches or other furniture or ornaments that could be used to climb over the fence line, however unlikely it may seem.

Step nine:

Ensure the fence height is at least 1.2 metres above the ground - consistently, all the way around your pool. This rule also applies to fences between neighbours.

Step ten:

Avoid any gaps less than 10cm wide.

Step eleven:

If your home has direct access to the pool, secure any doors using the same strict safety standards listed above.

Step twelve:

Look for any windows that could feasibly access the pool area. Cover them with secure bars - once again, no wider than 10cm apart. Alternatively, fit your window with a child safety device that can achieve the same effect - i.e. no opportunity to open more than 10 cm.

While the "ten centimetre" golden rule may seem excessive, it's worth remembering that child safety is at stake. By following these steps carefully and without compromise, you will go a long way in keeping your pool as safe as possible.

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