Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death of children aged 0–5 years. Over the past ﬁve years, 16 toddlers have drowned in WA. For every drowning death, it is estimated that 10 children are admitted to hospital following a near-drowning incident (160 children over the past ﬁve years).
In WA, domestic swimming pools are the most common site in which drowning for children aged 0–5 years occurs, with 94% of drowning incidents at locations in and around the home. Of that 94%, 31% occurred at a relative or neighbour’s home.
These tragic incidents can be signiﬁcantly reduced if we are all aware of the potential hazards of water in our everyday life, use simple prevention methods and learn the life-saving skill of resuscitation.
There are speciﬁc laws in WA that mandate the installation of a safety barrier to enclose private swimming and spa pools and these are monitored and enforced by Local Governments and penalties apply for non-compliance.
The laws are intended to protect the safety of young children by restricting their access to the area containing the swimming or spa pool.
Portable swimming pools
Portable pools can pose a safety risk, especially for children under the age of five. Even in a small portable pool with very little water, it only takes seconds for a child to drown.
Inflatable and portable pools can present a danger as they are not usually fenced and may not be completely emptied after use. Pool fencing laws apply to pools, including portable pools 300mm deep or more.
Information on the requirements of pool fencing can be obtained from the building commissions Rules for Pools and Spas publication: