Pool Fences, are they dumbed down safety.
Guest Article by ‘Safety Dave’ (no relation)
I finally got around to putting in the above ground swimming pool that I had promised the family for some time. The weather was hot and I loved the idea of being able to cool off at my own leisure as it is hot up here in Central Queensland. I thought I would leave it up until about March, then I would take it down and pack it away until the next summer. As for the pool it is not flash, 78cm deep which is a great sitting depth and 3.5m wide which means you don’t have to play feet with anyone else in the pool. I put a shade cloth over the top so it didn’t heat up too much.
Now the safety bits. Qld has extensive safety legal requirements for pools which you can read on the net. Now as I went about putting the pool fence up with it’s self locking gates that opened outwards and had nothing climbable nearby, the bars couldn’t be spread more than so many mm’s and the fence less than 100mm off the ground, and 1.2m high with the lock at least 1.5m off the ground. After reading all this, and did I get all the rules, oh yes, and the sign of how to do CPR and then registering the pool with the council. (Kids can’t read the sign and my wife and I are very medically inclined, so repetitious for us.)
Now my pool is safe, I have abided by all the rules, so I can switch off now.
I know that I have taken part in dumbed down safety because we have been bullied into it by the emotional loss of small children in pools. A hard argument to fight, but I note in two coroners courts this year for drowning of children in pools, both pools were fenced. In one case the mother didn’t know that the child was inside the enclosure, so she switched off and went about her housework. In the other one inattention was again the culprit, the child was in a safe pool area so should be safe. Now if we didn’t have to have fences would mum have paid more attention, would the parents have remonstrated with their children for going near the pool without advising their minders. No, got a safe pool, keep pouring the chardonnays.
Now my pool is in my back yard, so you have first to open the street gates, it is the only way in as I have 6 foot colour-bond fencing all around my property, so the probability of climbing over my fences is remote. Then you have to go to the rear of my property, turn left, turn left again and there is my fenced pool. The annoying thing is that it would take Sherlock Holmes to find my pool, but in case some distant neighbour’s kid who hasn’t heard the word No from his parents, should climb my front fence and find their way to the back of the property, so they can climb uninvited into my pool, I have had to put a fence up. Annoying thing the fence cost more than the pool.
It is not the pool fence that makes the pool safe, but the attention to, and the guidance given to any children. But you can’t legislate for that.