Victorian Coroner’s Reports, Findings & Recommendations
The Evidence From Other States of Australia
Pool and spa barrier inspections are currently mandatory in three states - NSW, QLD and WA. Since the introduction of mandatory inspections in WA in 1992, there has been an 80% reduction in the rate of toddler drownings*. This Western Australia data proves that mandatory barrier inspection legislation works.
*8.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 1992 down to 1.66 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016 (Source: Royal Life Saving Society WA Inc)
Life Saving Victoria - Drowning Deaths of Children 0-4 years in Home Pools (2006/07 to 2015/16)
All drowning deaths occurred on a weekday (one occurred on a public holiday), with nine occurring in the afternoon. The majority of deaths (eight) occurred in the summer and ten occurred in Greater Melbourne.
Similar to previous reports, coronial records indicate that the deaths primarily resulted from a combination of inadequate carer supervision immediately prior to the drowning, lack of adequate safety barriers between the child and the pool/spa and availability of an entry point.
Examples of inadequate safety barriers and available entry points include: safety barrier gate left propped open or door left open, faulty gate lock, safety barrier fence not maintained or adaptations to fence or surrounding area made so it no longer complied with the Australian Standards. There were also cases where a climbing point allowed access to the swimming pool.
Evidence That Victorian Pool Barriers Aren't Being Maintained
This investigation reveals the truth on pool and spa barrier compliance:
BOROONDARA: 24 pools inspected, zero compliance
DANDENONG: 22 pools inspected, zero compliance
FRANKSTON: No exact figures available but issues 40-55 non-compliance notes a year
GLEN EIRA: 195 pools inspected, more than 98 per cent failed to comply
HUME: 196 pools inspected, “at least 90 per cent” failed to comply
KINGSTON: Could not say how many inspections were made or how many pools complied
KNOX: 100 pools inspected, no figures provided but the “vast majority” failed to comply
MACEDON RANGES: No proactive pool inspection program and no figures available
MAROONDAH: 270 pools inspected in the past 18 months, 98 per cent failed to comply
MONASH: 151 pools inspected, only eight complied.
MOONEE VALLEY: 27 pools inspected, zero compliance
MORELAND: 130 pools inspected, “many” failed to comply
MORNINGTON PENINSULA: 261 pools inspected, zero compliance
NILLUMBIK: 75 pools inspected, 23 complied
STONNINGTON: 60 pools inspected, zero compliance
WHITEHORSE: 100 pools inspected, zero compliance
WHITTLESEA: 49 pools inspected, five complied
YARRA RANGES: 61 pools inspected, nine complied