A portable pool safety reminder ahead of summer

2 November 2020

Royal Life Saving WA continues to work with Consumer Protection Western Australia to ensure parents and carers across our state are aware of the potential dangers of portable pools for children, and how to best use them safely. The “Don’t Duck Out, Make if SAFE” campaign has been launched for the upcoming summer with information available for consumers in-store and online so they can make wise choices when it comes to portable pools.

Each year in Australia one child fatally drowns in a portable pool, while many more need hospital treatment following a non-fatal drowning incident, some left with severe brain injuries. Many people purchase portable pools – ranging from small blow-up or plastic paddling or kiddie pools to bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame – as a cheaper alternative to an inground pool, without realising the potential dangers.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping says now is the time for parents and carers of children to consider the risks before purchasing or using a portable pool. “It’s timely to warn people about the drowning risk associated with portable pools as the weather warms up and many are considering buying a portable pool for the backyard or as a Christmas gift,” Ms Chopping said.
“We have again partnered with Royal Life Saving to run ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’, to educate consumers of the responsibilities you take on when you buy a portable pool, which focusses on constant supervision and may include putting up a safety barrier. Don’t be distracted by a visitor to the home or by the phone if you are caring for children who have access to a portable pool. If the pool contains more than 30 centimetres of water, it is required to be fenced and the gate will need to have an approved locking device.”

Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Health Promotion and Research, Lauren Nimmo says the recent National Drowning Report highlights the issue of portable pool drowning and who is most at risk. “Our statistics show there is one child fatality as a result of a portable pool drowning each year. The child is almost always under five-years-old and more likely to be male,” Ms Nimmo said.
“We don’t want any deaths or hospitalisations due to drowning this summer. 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.”

These tips are:

  • Supervise. Actively watch children within arm’s reach. Don’t leave older children in charge. 
  • Act. Learn emergency response including CPR. It’s important 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. If there are two people, one should make the phone call while the other does CPR.
  • Fence. In most parts 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 relevant government agency.
  • Empty and store safely. After keeping watch all day, pour away water and store the pool where children can’t reach. Never leave it where it can refill with rain or sprinkler water.


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

More information about Portable Pool safety can also be accessed at the link below.

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