Be Pool Safe

Changed Swimming Pool Laws - Be Pool Safe

NSW Swimming Pool Register

Q. What is the NSW Swimming Pool Register?

A. A State-wide record of private backyard swimming pools.

Q. What is the purpose of the Register?

A. The Register aims to improve child safety by promoting the regular maintenance of pool barriers while ensuring those barriers comply with the applicable barrier safety standards. A Pool Compliance Certificate may be issued should a pool compliance inspection be carried out by a Council or private certifier. Pool Compliance Certificates are valid for 3 years. 

Q. How do I register my pool?

A. The public can access the Swimming Pools Register via the internet from 29 April 2013 at Alternately, Councils will be able to register pools on behalf of pool owners. Pool owners should visit their local Councils from 29 April 2013 to have their council register the pool on their behalf. A fee of $10.00 may be charged for this service.

Q. When do I have to register?

A. All pool owners are required to register their existing pools by 29 October 2013.

Q. What information do I need to enter?

A. There will be a number of fields to complete the online registration; including the address of the pool, the type of pool, the age of the pool.

Q. How will the information entered be used?

A. The Swimming Pool Register will assist Councils and water safety agencies to direct water safety information and compliance information to pool owners.

Q. How will Councils use this information?

A. The information collected through the Swimming Pool Register will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected. That is, reducing the incidence of drowning in backyard swimming pools through increased awareness of and compliance with pool safety standards and distribution of water safety resources. 

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 some of the Pool Safey 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. 

Q. How do I keep my Pool Environment Safe?

A. If you own a pool you should visit for more water safety information. There are Fact Sheets (available in 16 langugues), a Safety Checklist and water safety videos. 


Q. What is supervision?

A. Supervision is constant visual contact with your child. You should be within arms’ reach and be in a position to respond quickly. It is not an occasional glance while you nap, read or undertake household chores, and it is not looking outside at your kids playing while you are inside.

Q. What is active supervision ?

A. Active supervision means focusing all of your attention on your children all of the time, when they are in, on or around the water. You must be within arms’ reach, interacting with your child and be ready to enter the water in case of an emergency.

Q. How can multi-tasking affect supervision?

A. Parents are busy and often try to do many things at once to save time. When you multi-task you can become distracted and do not give your full attention to maintaining the safety of your children. Distractions include: doorbell, phone, meal times, toilet breaks etc.

Q. Can older children watch younger children?

A. No. Parents leaving young children in the care of older siblings has been a factor in a number of toddler drowning deaths. Older children are not equipped with the skills to perceive and respond to an emergency situation, nor should they be given this responsibility.

Q. What is the best way to supervise children at parties?

A. If there are a small number of children, make an adult responsible for their care. A supervisor should wear a Keep Watch ‘Designated Child Supervisor’ Hat and if that supervisor leaves they should hand the hat (responsibility) over to another adult to take over. If there are a large number of children, leave an adult stationed at each different place where the children will play to monitor that area.


Q. What is Resuscitation?

A. Resuscitation or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) involves stimulating the heart and breathing air into the lungs to preserve or restore life. Resuscitation involves establishing or maintaining an airway, breathing and circulation.

Q. Why should I learn resuscitation?

A. Resuscitation is a skill for life. In most cases when an emergency occurs, a family member is the first on the scene. In fact, many children are alive today because their parents knew how to perform CPR and responded quickly. Having the skills to react in an emergency situation can mean the difference between life and death while you wait for emergency care to arrive.

Q. What are the legal implications of doing CPR?

A. Lay persons or volunteers acting as Good Samaritans are under no legal obligation to assist a fellow human being. However, you need not fear litigation if you come to the aid of a fellow human in need. The Australian Resuscitation Council and Royal Life Saving encourages people to provide assistance to any person in need. Having decided to assist, a standard of care appropriate to your training (or lack of training) is expected.

Q. What do I need to say when I call 000?

A. When you call 000 you should stay on the line, not panic and answer all the questions the operator asks you. It will be helpful to know your nearest crossroad for the ambulance.

Q. Where can I learn CPR?

A. Royal Life Saving is one organisation that offers CPR courses to the public. Courses are approximately four hours in duration and your skills should be updated annually. However, you can also do a first aid course, which provides you with a range of skills for emergency situations. For further details including course schedules etc please visit Royal Life Saving - Resuscitation Training today.

Restrict Access

Q. What does restricting access mean?

A. Restricting access means ensuring there is a barrier between your child and a body of water. This can be done in two ways:

  • Barrier around the water – this includes a pool / spa fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate in accordance with AS1926, closing the door to the bathroom after use, using pool/spa/tank covers, placing mesh on water features and fish ponds, ensuring lids are securely on nappy buckets. Note: Inflatables over a depth of 300mm need to be fenced by law.
  • Barrier around the child – This takes the form of a Child Safe Play Area that can be used inside or outside the home and is especially effective for water you cannot fence like dams on farms.

Restricting access when combined with the other Keep Watch actions of Supervise, Water Awareness and Resuscitate are highly effective in preventing child drowning.

Q. Why do barriers fail?

A. Barriers can fail when gates are left propped open, fences and gates aren’t maintained and climbable objects are left against the fence. Royal Life Saving encourages parents and guardians to regularly inspect their pool by downloading and completing a home pool safety checklist from

Q. Is there a better method than restricting access?

A. Yes, removing the hazard is more effective in preventing your child from drowning than restricting access. You can remove the hazard by emptying the bathtub and buckets after use and filling in postholes, ditches and any other water features or hazards that are no longer used.

Q. What is the benefit of Child Safe Play Areas?

A. Child Safe Play Areas are particularly effective for restricting a child’s access to bodies of water that you cannot fence. Therefore they are effective on farms where dams are used for stock and cannot be isolated. They can also be used both outside and inside the house and assist parents in being able to actively supervise children.

Water Awareness

Q. What is water awareness?

A. Water awareness is a term which covers a range of strategies which can help ensure your child’s safety when in, on, or around water. This includes water familiarisation, checking for and removing water hazards (e.g. buckets), setting rules around water and discussing water safety with your child.

Q. What is water familiarisation?

A. Water familiarisation classes are generally held at public swimming pools and aquatic centres and provide an opportunity for parents and carers to get their child involved in the development of aquatic skills and water confidence, while increasing social, emotional, mental and physical skills in a safe environment.

Q. What is the difference between water awareness and learn to swim?

A. Water awareness classes, such as Royal Life Saving’s Swim and Survive Wonder Program focus on the gradual introduction of very basic skills, such as moving in the water, getting the face wet and blowing bubbles for children aged 6 to 36 months. The Courage program is aimed at children aged 3 to 5 years and teaches water confidence. Learn to swim classes are suitable for children 5 years and over and focus on developing the basic skills taught in water awareness classes and turning them into recognisable strokes and the confidence to swim without being held by an adult or carer.

Q. What else can I do to be water aware?

A. You can use bath time as a time for water awareness, letting your baby or child feel, experience and play with water. You can also put rules in place for children when they go near water and ensure that parents and adults uphold these rules themselves to set a good example. When visiting new aquatic locations you can examine these together with your child and discuss any safety issues and rules for that location with your child.

Q. What should I expect from a water awareness class?

A. Generally, a water awareness class will involve a small number of parents/carers with their child participating with an instructor who facilitates learning through fun games, songs and activities. There is also a focus on providing key water safety messages to parents and carers. Typical skills taught to children include: entering and exiting the water safely with a carer, being gently rocked and being encouraged to splash and kick their legs.

Q. Can I practice these skills at home?

A. Yes, you can also play in the home pool with your child or use bath time to help them become familiar with water. Bath time is especially good as you can familiarise children with water almost from birth. Use a baby bath big enough to allow movement. Hold the baby underneath their head and move them forwards and backwards, allowing them to feel the movement of the water.