Portable pools pose safety risk

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning about the potential hazards of portable pools after recent statistics showed a high risk of drowning for children under the age of five.

“Portable pools are a popular choice for families over summer but can pose serious drowning risks to young children regardless of the pool’s size,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Between July 2012 and June 2013, children under five accounted for nearly half of all swimming pool drowning deaths with falls into water accounting for 81 per cent of these deaths, according to a recent Royal Life Saving Society report.

“Inflatable and portable pools usually aren’t fenced and children can drown in seconds, even in shallow water,” Ms Rickard said.

“Adults must always actively supervise children from within arm’s reach when they are in and around water. Never rely on older children to supervise younger children, no matter how confident you are about their ability to watch the younger child.”

“Always empty and store portable pools safely away from younger children when not in use and ensure inflatable or portable pools that are deeper than 30 centimetres are surrounded by a swimming pool fence,” Ms Rickard said.

Under a new mandatory safety standard to be enforced by the ACCC, portable pools and their retail packaging will require new warning labels from March 2014. The warning labels will also draw attention to state and territory fencing laws for pools, including inflatable and portable pools.

Further information on portable pool safety and the upcoming mandatory safety standard is available at www.productsafety.gov.au/portablepools

The Royal Life Saving Society National Drowning Report 2013 is available at http://www.royallifesaving.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/9759/RLS_NationalDrowningReport_2013.pdf