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Make pool safety a number one priority this summer

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After a spate of tragic drownings in Australian waters this summer, leading law firm Slater and Gordon is urging families to ensure their pools - including spas and inflatables - comply with safety regulations.

Senior public liability lawyer Barrie Woollacott said pool owners could be held liable if their fence is not compliant with safety standards. 

“I have represented a number of families of young children who have drowned or suffered serious injuries as a result of faulty pool fences or non-compliant gate latches,” Mr Woollacott said.

“There is only a matter of seconds before a young life is in danger when unsupervised around the water, a tragedy no family should have to face.  

“If a child gets into a pool that is without adequate fencing, the owner could be held liable and faces serious charges, including manslaughter.

“Just as we are reminded to check smoke alarms around our home, pool owners should check their pool area regularly throughout the year, especially in the months leading into summer.

“Doing a quick check to ensure the gate is self-latching, there is no significant damage to the fence and no climbable objects are accessible, may be all it takes to save a life.”

Mr Woollacott urged homeowners to do their research to ensure their fence is compliant with state based regulations.

“While pool owners should be well and truly aware of the requirements of fencing around their backyard pool, many may not know these rules also apply to spas and inflatable pools,” he said.

“Under the Australian Standard AS1926, all pools – including inflatables - and spas with a depth of water more than 30cm must have safety barriers to restrict access from children to the pool area.”

“Requirements vary in each Australian state so pool owners should consult their local council to ensure their pool is safe and compliant.”

Mr Woollacott said parents and guardians can never be too careful when children and water are concerned.

“Young children are often oblivious to the dangers associated with swimming pools which is why it is so important that they are supervised when in or around the water,” Mr Woollacott said.

“The reality is, an accident can occur in a matter of seconds, but the devastating impact to the families and community involved can last a lifetime.”