NT Consumer Affairs urges consumers to make portable pools SAFE

Territorians are being warned about the dangers of portable pools during a national campaign involving consumer law/product safety regulators and the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia.

The ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’ initiative takes place each summer because on average one child dies from drowning in a portable pool every year, with others needing hospital treatment and some suffering permanent brain damage.

The summer campaign is 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.

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 drawing the buyer’s attention to the drowning risk and local fencing laws if the pool can hold 30cm of water.

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 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 most of Australia, pools filled with more than 30cm of water, are legally required to have a compliant safety barrier. Check with your local council or government agency.
  • Empty. For pools that don’t need to fenced, keep watch all day, then pour out water and store away from children, in a place where it can’t refill with rain or sprinkler water.

It’s a timely reminder to warn consumers about the drowning risk associated with portable pools during warmer weather and the Christmas gift-buying and receiving season.

Don’t duck out of the responsibilities that come with buying a portable pool, which may include putting up a safety barrier when you set up the product at home. Anyone thinking about purchasing a portable pool should check out www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe.