Government threatens fines over unfenced inflatable swimming pools

Chris Maher

Owners of inflatable swimming pools are being threatened with fines if they do not erect fences around the common backyard items.

Tens of thousands of people are being warned to fence their backyard pools as the New South Wales government says statistics show 10 people have died in them in the past seven years.

According to the law, pools such as this should be fenced. Photo: 7 News

They are live savers on hot days but inflatable and portable pools can be hazardous.

Most would be surprised to learn that they need to be fenced though. Government regulations set the bar at 300mm.

Michael Morris from the Samuel Morris Foundation said the portable pools had been an ongoing problem for regulators.

“That’s it, 30 centimetres. Every pool capable of holding that much water does require fencing,” Michael Morris from the Samuel Morris Foundation said.

“This is an ongoing problem of the point of sale making people aware of the risks of the products that they’re buying,” he said

Proposals in a new review suggest registering portable pools or only selling them with fencing.

People could face $500 fines if caught with a pool without fencing but policing them can be a problem.

Michael Morris said homeowners could face fines for any unfenced pools deeper than 30 centimetres. Photo: 7 News

“It is difficult because they’re bought and sold and no one knows where they go,” Robert Guthrie from the Pool and Spa Association said.

The government says it is assessing the report and is: "committed to reducing the number of drowning deaths in backyard pools. Any child drowning is one too many."

But that doesn't replace the main precaution.

"Supervision is paramount. Children under five should be within arms length at all times they're in a swimming pool," Mr Guthrie said.