The Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA) has serious reservations with regard the new regulations. While there are many opinions within our industry, SPASA believes that the changes that will be introduced on the 1st May 2010 do not go far enough and will not necessarily be any safer than the rules that are currently in place.
SPASA is concerned that the promotion of a “boost to Victoria’s pool safety rules” may magnify the false sense of security that pool fencing may provide many families.
As the industry peak body, SPASA considers the promotion of pool and spa safety to be one our most important responsibilities.
The association notes that Victoria has the lowest incidence of toddler drownings in Australia - we want to continue to lead the country with regard pool safety.
SPASA Recommends –
1. Safety Checks be conducted on all Victorian backyard pools every 3 years.
An Australian study has found that more than 70% of backyard child drownings occurred in fenced pools. With distracted adults, children climbing over fences or pool gates being propped open as the main cause factors. Anecdotal advice from industry tells us that a significant number of pools in Victoria, while having once-compliant safety barriers, are no longer operative.
2. Meaningful backyard pool community awareness campaigns be created that focus on; parental vigilance, the need for CPR training & swimming lessons for all children.
A pool fence cannot save a life. In the late 1990s SPASA WA ran a public awareness campaign promoting the above theme and halved the drownings in the State, compared to the previous 4 year period. Not enough is done to alert pool owners of the need to never take their eyes of children around pools and spas. In NSW, between 2003 & 2007, 75% of drownings in backyard pools occurred where there was no adult supervision.
3. Prior to mandating this change, that further consultation takes place with industry & the community. With nearly 50 years of continuous industry experience, SPASA has not been a party to any of the regulatory discussions and believes a unique “in the field” perspective can add to pool safety. Everyone gains if the safest pool fencing regulations are developed in consultation with key stakeholders.
Parents must teach their children how to swim, and pool owners must observe children at all times when around water. There is no substitute for vigilance around backyard pools.
SPASA strongly recommend that all pool owners read the SPASA Pool & Spa Safety Fact Sheet on our website www.spasavic.com.au and the important information contained in our new 2010 Pool & Spa Book.
SPASA is disappointed that regulations focus on fencing regulations rather than introducing Safety / Compliance Checks on pool fencing, widely promoting safe practice around pools, providing communities with mandatory swimming lessons and CPR training. The end result of the regulation changes may be anelevated false sense of security.
Victorian Statistics –
Victoria currently has the lowest drowning toll since records were established and has the lowest incidence of toddler drownings in Australia.
Last year 27 males and 8 females drowned in Victoria - 11 of these drowned while swimming, paddling or wading (in Public & Backyard pools).
Media enquiries –
Brendan Watkins, CEO SPASA Victoria Phone 03 9501 2040.
Further Resources &References –