New campaign focuses on portable pool safety

Thursday, 22 November, 2018

The WA State Government and Royal Life Saving Society Australia have joined forces to launch a national safety campaign as we roll into summer. Tragically, on average, one child dies from drowning in a portable pool every year, with others needing hospital treatment and some suffering from permanent brain damage.

Designed to warn consumers about the dangers of portable pools, the Don't Duck Out, Make it SAFE initiative has four key safety messages:

  1. Supervise. Actively watch children within arm's reach. Don't leave children in charge.
  2. Act. Learn CPR — know to start compressions and breaths as soon as possible when a child is pulled from the water and to call triple zero (000) for help.
  3. Fence. In WA and most parts of Australia it is a legal requirement to have a compliant safety barrier in place for pools deeper than 30 cm. Check with your local council.
  4. Empty. Keep watch around pools that don't need to be fenced. Be sure to pour out water and store the pool away from children in a place where it can't refill with rain or sprinkler water.

Under Australian Consumer Law, portable pools (plastic paddling pools, bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame) must have warning labels drawing the buyer's attention to the drowning risk.

Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said responsibility lies with owners as well as manufacturers and suppliers of portable pools.

"It's crucial that consumers comply with the legal requirements to fence portable pools that are deeper than 30 cm, otherwise they risk a fine of up to $5000," he said.

"Suppliers of portable pools failing to comply with the mandatory standard can also face hefty penalties, up to $1.1 million.

"Since July, Consumer Protection inspectors have visited about 50 stores and checked more than 290 portable pools. I'm pleased that only one paddling pool and one inflatable spa did not comply with warning label requirements for retail packaging," Johnston said.

Some major Australian retailers have agreed to display Don't Duck Out, Make It SAFE promotional materials in store and/or put stickers on portable pool products. For more information on the campaign, visit the website.

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