Swimming pools offer a delightful oasis from the summer heat, and they can be an essential part of family fun, exercise, and relaxation. However, pools also carry a significant risk if not properly secured and supervised. Every year, the unfortunate reality is that drownings and near-drownings take place in residential swimming pools, particularly among young children. A crucial factor in ensuring pool safety is a compliant barrier – a fence or other structure designed to prevent unsupervised access to the pool area.
The Necessity of a Compliant Barrier
The importance of a compliant barrier around a pool cannot be overemphasized. Children, in their innate curiosity and love for water, can easily find their way to an unsecured pool. Drownings can happen quickly and silently, often with devastating consequences. Yes we are aware that many older pools have been constructed where you can walk straight out of the Residence into the swimming pool. But legislation have progressed and no longer is that considered safe for young children residing in or visiting the home.
Moreover, it’s not just about children. Pets, older adults, and even uninvited guests can find themselves in trouble if they accidentally fall into an unguarded pool. The World Health Organization identifies lack of barriers as one of the key risk factors for unintentional drowning. A friend of ours with dymentia took a tumble near the pool whilst out for a twilight “walk-about”. As fortune had it, her husband was still up and got to her just in time! For every narrow escape, we know there are many other near drownings.
What Makes a Barrier Compliant?
A compliant barrier is not merely a physical block but is designed and constructed following safety standards and local regulations. A barrier’s height is a critical feature – typically, it should be at least 1200mm high to prevent young children from climbing over it. If any boundary fencing forms the barrier, it must measure a minimum of 1800m above finished ground level.
Furthermore, the barrier should not have any potential handholds or footholds that would allow a child to climb. This means that horizontal rails or decorative features should be carefully considered. Gaps in or under the fence should be narrow enough to prevent a small child from squeezing through or crawling underneath. Objects should be kept away from the barriers.
The barrier should also feature an outward opening self-latching, self-closing gate, ideally with the latch out of reach of young children. Alarms on the gate can provide an extra layer of protection by alerting adults when the gate is opened.
Compliant Barrier: An Integral Part of Layered Protection
While a compliant barrier is a critical component of pool safety, it is most effective when used as part of a layered approach. This means incorporating additional safety measures such as pool alarms, pool covers, and safety nets.
Additionally, supervision is key. Nothing replaces active, focused supervision when young children are near water. Adults should always be within arm’s reach of young children and non-swimmers while they are in the pool. Even leaving your teens to muck around alone in the pool comes with a risk that they could hit their head or even suffer an electrocution if the water was energised in a thunderstorm.
Moreover, CPR and basic water rescue skills are invaluable for anyone living in a home with a pool. By preparing for emergencies, you increase the chances of a successful outcome if an accident does occur.
As we revel in the joy and relaxation that a swimming pool can bring, we must also remember the responsibility it entails. A compliant pool barrier, along with diligent supervision and other safety measures, significantly reduces the risk of drowning incidents. Thus, it’s not just an element of pool safety – it’s an indispensable lifesaver. Investing time, effort, and resources into ensuring the pool area is secure may save a life, making it an investment well worth making.
As Certifiers we know that many pool owners are unable to identify non-compliances for various reasons such as a lack of education from governing bodies. Our Pool Compliance Inspectors at Pool Certify can assist you to learn how to comply so that you can rest easy knowing your pool fencing does comply.