Outdoor Living

Fencing protects children from drowning

Fencing protects children from drowning the fence

As the weather warms up Victorians are reminded to check on their backyard pool and spa fences, ahead of new regulations that will be introduced by the Vic Government in 2019.

The Victorian Building Authority has prepared a voluntary register and new self-assessment tool for owners to check their fences, with a mandatory register coming into force late 2019.

Victorians are encouraged to use this summer to get their pools ready for new regulatory regime, which will include regular inspections of pool and spa barriers to reduce tragic backyard drownings.

Between January 2000 and April 2017, 25 children drowned in Victorian swimming pools and spas.

Around 13 children every year are hospitalised due to a near-drowning, and a third of these sustain ongoing impairment.

While the new inspection regime is more than a year away, owners who seek certificates of compliance this summer from registered inspectors will give themselves time to address fencing issues before the new inspection regime kicks in.

The Government will work closely with councils, stakeholders and the community in implementing the tough new laws, which passed Parliament in September 2018 and will better protect children across the state against the dangers of poorly maintained barriers.

“For the first time in Victoria’s history we will have a complete database of all pools and spas and a dedicated inspection process to ensure fences are maintained. This is incredibly important for families with young children,” said Victorian Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne.

“This summer is a great opportunity for families to get ready for the new regime that will come into place in 2019.

Victorians are setting out to improve their pool fencing.

To use the self-assessment tool and sign up to the pool register, go to: vba.vic.gov.au/consumers

Adult supervision is still the best way of protecting children from the dangers of backyard pools and spas.

This article was first published in The Fence magazine.