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Consumer & Business Advice
Media releases
5 December 2019

In the lead-up to Christmas, South Australia's consumer watchdog is urging the community to be mindful of the dangers of swimming pools - especially portable pools. 

Consumer and Business Services is supporting the annual 'Don't Duck Out, Make It SAFE' initiative with the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia. 

"On average, one child dies from drowning in a portable pool in Australia every year, with others needing hospital treatment and some suffering from permanent brain damage," Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said. 

"That's why it's so essential that consumers remember the risks, if they're thinking of buying a portable pool over Summer." 

Mr Soulio said some retailers will be displaying 'Don't Duck Out, Make It SAFE' flyers or posters in store and /or put stickers on portable pool boxes, as products are bought. 

The materials promote the key messages:

  • Supervise. Actively watch children within arm's reach. Don't leave children in charge.
  • Act. Learn CPR - know to start compressions and breaths as soon as possible when a child is pulled from the water and to call triple zero (000) for help.
  • Fence. In SA and most of Australia, swimming pools with a depth of 30cm or more, are legally required to have a compliant safety barrier. Check with your local Council. 
  • Empty. For pools that don't need to be fenced, keep watch all day, then pour out water, deflate the portable pool and store away from children. Never leave an empty portable pool in a place where it can refill with rain or sprinkler water. 

Under the Australian Consumer Law, portable pools - ranging from small blow-up or plastic paddling pools to bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame - must have warning labels. The warning labels bring to the buyers' attention the drowning risks and need to investigate local fencing laws if the pool can hold 30cm or more of water. 

"All consumers need to consider the steps they may need to take to keep children safe - including putting up a safety barrier when you set up the portable pool at home," Mr Soulio said. 

"Royal Life Saving data shows that between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2018, 25 people drowned in portable swimming pools in Australia. Eighty percent of these were children under the age of five. Children at most risk of drowning in portable pools are aged between one and two years," Jill Dowd from the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia said. 

"In almost all of these cases, there was a lapse or lack of supervision when the child drowned. We can't emphasise enough how important active adult supervision is in prevention drowning deaths. Adults following the 'Don't Duck Out, Make It SAFE' tips, such as keeping constant watch of kids around portable pools, can reduce the risk and potentially save lives." 

Anyone thinking about purchasing a portable pool should check out www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe