Portable swimming pools

Safety guidelines for consumers

While fun for small children, serious hazards are associated with portable swimming pools, including inflatable pools:

  • Toddlers can drown silently in very shallow water
  • Children can become ill when pool water is left unsanitised for long periods of time
  • Electrocution is a very real threat when portable electrical pumps and filter systems are not used properly.

Read the labels

Follow the safety information on labels warning of drowning risks, the need for water purification and the possible requirement for a child-resistant safety barrier.

Fencing requirements

Swimming pool owners must make sure their pools comply with fencing laws. Pools that are able to be filled to a depth of 300mm or more must be surrounded by a safety barrier separating the swimming pool from any residential building or place adjoining the premises. Fences surrounding pools must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained to meet Australian standards for swimming pools. Go to the pool safety checklists page for more information.

In case of emergency

Near your inflatable pool, you should have a cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign in good condition readable from a distance of three metres. You can buy a CPR sign from your local pool shop, Council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or The Royal Life Saving Society.

If you become aware of an unsafe situation or item, whether or not anyone has been injured, you should alert the supplier about the issue. You can also report it by lodging a complaint on our website or via the Product Safety Australia website.

Registration and certification requirements

Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death in children under five years of age. In 2012, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was amended to improve the safety of children around swimming pools in NSW. The changes include:

  • Swimming pool owners must register their swimming pool or spa pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
  • Local councils and accredited certifiers registered with the Building Professionals Board, can carry out inspections of swimming pools.
  • A copy of a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate must be attached to new residential tenancy agreements to rental properties with a swimming pool or spa pool. This requirement does not apply to a lot in strata or community schemes that have more than two lots.
  • A copy of a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate, or a valid certificate of non-compliance, must be attached to the sales contract to sell property with a swimming pool or spa pool. This requirement does not apply:
  • to a lot in strata or community schemes that have more than two lots, or
  • for any off-the-plan contract.

Visit the Swimming pools page on our website for more information.To read more about the new swimming pools safety laws, inflatable pools and water safety, visit the Royal Life Saving NSW website or contact your local council.

Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids video

The Children's Hospital, Westmead have put together a video and materials covering a range of pool safety topics.

Electrical hazards

Pools and electricity can be a lethal combination. Take extreme care if you have a swimming pool that has a portable electrical pump and filter system where there is no protective housing. When buying pools with electrical pumps and filters:

  • make sure the pump and filter have an electrical safety approval number or Regulatory Compliance Mark
  • check they are suitable for outdoor use
  • fit a safety switch to the house where the pool will be used
  • arrange for a licensed electrician to install a suitable weather-protected electrical power point close to where the pool equipment will be located to avoid the use of extension cords.

If it is necessary to use flexible extension cords:

  • only use heavy duty cords and always roll them up and store them overnight or when not in use
  • do not join a number of extension cords together – purchase a single cord of the required length
  • make sure the extension cords are not damaged by people walking or driving over them or by pets chewing on them
  • always remove the extension cords prior to mowing the lawn area near the pool.

Preventing electrical accidents

Pools and electricity can be a highly dangerous combination. Retailers should inform their customers to take care when using portable electrical pumps and filter systems for swimming pools.

It is an offence under the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 for suppliers of swimming pools to sell electrical pumps and filters that are not approved and are not marked with an electrical safety approval number or Regulatory Compliance Mark. Also, it is recommended that suppliers only stock electrical pumps that are suitable for outdoor use.

Suppliers of swimming pools should also advise customers purchasing portable electrical pumps and filters:

  • to fit a safety switch to the house where the pool will be used
  • to arrange for a licensed electrician to install a suitable weather-protected electrical power point close to the pool so that there is no need to use flexible extension cords.

Safety Guidelines for suppliers

IMPORTANT – The mandatory standard for suppliers of portable pools (including inflatable pools) means that both the portable swimming pool and its packaging must display a permanent warning message. Visit the portable swimming pools page on the Product Safety Australia website for more information. This information covers the current safety laws that apply to inflatable swimming pools.

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