Children on edge of pool

Families

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to supervise my child in the pool constantly?

A. Yes. Tragically, many drowning deaths occur in the few seconds that parents are distracted. Active supervision means your child is being continually watched by you or an appropriate adult. If the child is under five years of age or a non-swimmer you should be within arms’ reach of them at all times.

Supervision should be constant, not the occasional glance whilst you read a book or relaxing. Regardless of what you are doing, always Keep Watch when children are in, on or around water. Take your child with you whenever you leave the swimming pool or bathtub. Never under any circumstances leave them alone!

Q: Can young children be left in the supervision of older children?

A. No. Never leave young children in the care of older children. Older children may not perceive the amount of danger a young child may be in and may confuse drowning for playing. They may also lack the attention levels needed to supervise correctly.

Q: Should my child use flotation aides?

A. Flotation aides should only be used where appropriate (i.e. when they are learning to swim). The child should not develop a dependency on the flotation aide. Children should be able to master the water environment on their own. Flotation aides are no substitute for constant active supervision when infants and children are in the water.

Q. Why are children under five at such a high risk of drowning?

A. Children do not understand or perceive the hazards that water presents to them. They have no real sense of danger and require a high level of supervision. They are naturally inquisitive and are attracted to water. As children grow they become more mobile and like to explore. This may mean they begin climbing over barriers that are designed to keep them away from water. Young children are also at risk because of their physical build. They are ‘top heavy’ and prone to falling into water due to a lack of balance.

Q: Do I need a pool fence?

A. Yes. All pools should have a pool fence to prevent children from drowning, regardless of whether you have children living with you or not.

Q: Are there legal requirements for pool fencing?

A. Yes. In all States and Territories you are legally required to fence all bodies of water over 300mm in depth that are primarily used for human aquatic activity (this including paddling pools and wading pools etc). These requirements differ based on the age of the pool, the type of property (e.g. strata, private, business etc) and where you live (e.g. State and Territory, geographical setting, property configuration etc). Please contact your local council to find out the requirements for your pool.

Q: What are my responsibilities if I am a tenant in a property with a swimming pool?

A. It is usually the landlord's responsibility for providing and maintaining the premises in a reasonable state of repair, however the tenant is not to intentionally or negligently damage the premises and the tenant must notify the landlord of any damage.

Q: I have a backyard swimming pool. What are some of the safety issues I need to consider?

A. Owning and operating a home pool or spa is in some respects no different from running a public pool. You are still aiming to provide a safe, clean environment for your family and friends. The major issue for you as a pool owner is children – your own, your friends and your neighbours. If you own a pool you should visit the Home Pool Safety website and download a checklist to help keep your pool safe. Visit the website at www.homepoolsafety.com.au

Q: How can I learn resuscitation?

A. Royal Life Saving Society – Australia has a range of Resuscitation courses, check out the courses on our website.