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14 December 2021
Don't duck out - make it safe

South Australians are being reminded about the dangers of portable pools this summer.

The Don't Duck Out, Make It SAFE initiative takes place each year because on average one child dies from drowning in a portable pool each year with other children hospitalised. Some are left with severe brain damage.

Portable pools range from small blow-up or plastic paddling pools to bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame. Under the Australian Consumer Law all portable pools must have warning labels about the drowning risk.

Safety advice

Don't duck out of your responsibilities, make it SAFE.

  • Supervise. Once the pool has water in it, actively watch children and keep them within arm's reach at all times. Don't leave older children in charge of younger kids as they may not recognise the signs of drowning.
  • Act. Know what to do in the event of a drowning incident. Learn CPR - it's important to start compressions and breaths right away when a child is pulled from the water, and call Triple Zero (000) so help is on the way. If possible shout out for someone else to call Triple Zero (000) while you do CPR. 
  • Fence. In South Australia, if a pool depth holds 30cm or more of water, it must have a compliant safety barrier. Contact your local council for further information on this legal requirement. 
  • Empty. For pools that don't need to be fenced, empty and deflate the portable pool and store out of reach of children. Never leave an empty pool where it can refill with rain or sprinkler water. 

Read more about making portable pools safe at www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe

About the campaign

This national campaign involves consumer protection / product safety regulators and the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia. The campaign is also supported by drowning prevention ambassadors, including a mum whose son died in December 2017, two years after suffering irreversible neurological injuries when drowning in an unfenced portable pool at a relative's house in Western Australia.

Some major Australian retailers have agreed to go the extra mile and display 'Don't Duck Out, Make it SAFE' promotional materials in store and/or put stickers on portable pool boxes as products are bought to promote the key safety messages.