Making a splash about portable pool safety

21 December 2021

Tragically, on average one child dies from portable pool-related drowning each year in Australia and other kids need hospital treatment and may be left with severe brain injuries. That’s why Australian consumer protection and product safety regulators join forces with Royal Life Saving Society - Australia every summer to remind parents and carers to make portable pools SAFE.

Portable pools – ranging from small blow-up or plastic paddling pools to inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame – are a popular, cheaper alternative to below-ground pools. However many parents and carers do not realise the significant danger to young children and potential need for fencing. The Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE campaign, in its fourth year, has a website and involves national portable pool and spa retailers displaying point-of-sale warnings.

“We’re reminding Western Australians about the drowning risk associated with portable pools because the weather’s warming up in most parts of the country and we know portable pools are often bought for summer, or as a Christmas gift,” Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said. “Consumer Protection has again partnered with Royal Life Saving to run ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’, to educate consumers about the responsibilities you take on when you buy a portable pool, which may include putting up a safety barrier. You may well see the campaign posters in your local shops. Anyone thinking about buying a portable pool should spend a few minutes checking out”

Royal Life Saving Society WA Chief Executive Officer Peter Leaversuch says the National Drowning Report highlights the issue of child drowning and who is most at risk. “Our statistics show an average of one child fatality as a result of a portable pool drowning each year. The child is almost always under the age of five and more likely to be male,” he said. “Our aim is to avoid 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 children around portable pools, can reduce the risk and potentially save lives.”

  • 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.


You can find out more about the Make It SAFE campaign at the link below.

Explore more button