Canberrans are being called on to be backyard lifeguards this summer and ensure their pool barriers meet best practice safety standards.
“As a community, we are all responsible for safety around pools and spas,” Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction Rebecca Vassarotti said. “We want everyone in our community to feel confident with the knowledge that they are swimming and playing in areas that are safe and secure.
“During the warmer months, backyard pools and spas are welcome places to escape the Canberra heat, but sadly, home swimming pools are also the most common location for drowning for children under the age of five in the ACT.
“While national pool barrier standards for new home swimming pools have strengthened over time, we know that some pools in the ACT, particularly pools installed prior to 2010, do not meet current pool safety standards, which can result in serious injuries or backyard tragedies.
“The ACT Government is currently developing the details of a new requirement for pool owners to ensure that their pool barrier meets current safety standards. Community consultation will occur early next year to seek feedback on issues such as appropriate transition timeframes and circumstances where exemptions might be appropriate.
“In the meantime, as we head into summer, Canberrans can self-assess their swimming pool, spa and surrounding area to ensure it is safe and meets best practice safety standards by reading the ACT’s pool barrier safety factsheet on our Backyard Lifeguard website.
“I also urge all Canberrans to be vigilant with their children, family, and friends around swimming pools. Always watch your kids and teach them to swim and be safe around water. Check that your pool fences, gates, and other barriers are secure and keep gates to pools and spas shut.”
Canberrans are reminded that inflatable pools also pose a risk and children should be monitored when using them. Pool toys such as floatation aids are for fun, but they don’t replace the need for adult supervision.
You can learn more about having a swim safe summer by visiting the Backyard Lifeguard website.