Summer is finally on its way once again! For many, the warmer weather brings the urge to have a cooling dip in the backyard pool. Some homeowner builders or renovators might even be thinking of installing a brand-new pool in time for summer. If that sounds like you, before ‘jumping into’ the design process, you must ensure you know some pool safety guidelines. In this blog, we are going to run through six tips to design a child-safe pool in time for summer – from installing pool gates to finding the right concrete contractor.
Your legal responsibilities
In Victoria, there are actually a few laws in place to help regulate the safety of residential pools. For example, one key law is that a pool barrier, such as a pool fence, must surround any pool deeper than 30cm. A building permit is required before you can install a pool, spa, or barrier, and your pool will be subject to safety inspections.
Below are six things you can do to improve the safety of your household pool.
#1: Level out the surrounding garden beds
The finished ground level is defined as the ground level, or other permanent stable surface, upon which the pool barrier will sit. In order to have a finished ground level that complies with the fencing requirements (stated below), you need to have a leveled surface. This is because uneven surfaces are not the most consistent over time.
For example, if your fence has been installed on top of a raised garden bed, the growth of the garden bed over time can cover the bottom of the fence. Overall, this ‘reduces’ the height of the fence.
This is easily avoidable. Simply remove the surrounding garden beds and/or reduce the height of garden beds and ground levels so that the barrier is at least 1200mm above the ground on all sides of the fence.
#2: Cover fixed climbable objects
Fixed climbable objects are immobile fixtures close to the pool barriers or fences that children can use to climb over the gate, such as:
- Power outlets
- Branches or shrubs
To prevent children climbing on these objects, the items must be appropriately covered or trimmed. For example, cover a power outlet or tap with an angled plastic shield that cannot be climbed, and trim the shrubs.
#3: Install pool gates
In Victoria, pool gates, barriers or boundaries must be 1200mm or greater in height above the finished ground level, with the non-climbable zone (NCZ) measuring 900mm. The barriers and/or gates must also be self-latching and self-closing.
#4: Check any nearby windows
Any windows that might provide access to the gated pool area need to be checked as well to prevent children climbing through them. Again, there are a few changes you can make to your windows in order to make them child-friendly:
- Fix safety screens in front of them so children are unable to climb through
- Fix a permanent window chock, a rivet or screw to stop the window opening more than 1-metre wide.
#5: Remove movable climbable objects
Movable climbable objects are mobile objects that children can move and use to climb over pool fences, and into the pool area. Some examples of moveable climbable objects include:
- Ladders or stepladders
- Movable benches or other furniture
- Pot plants
- Pool pumps
There are two ways to prevent children from using these movable objects to access the pool:
- Make the movable objects immobile. Secure furniture (especially furniture that is close to the pool gates) and ensure chairs or tables cannot easily be moved by a child.
- Remove any other objects (such as empty pot plants and ladders) that can be used to climb over gates. Keep them in a shed or in an area that is at least a few metres away from the pool barrier.
#6: Invest in exposed aggregate
It’s no secret that pools can be slippery places – especially when your pool is surrounded with a low-grip landscaping material, such as wooden decking or flat concrete. Of course, this is a huge safety hazard for children. In the excitement of splashing and running, the last thing you want is a serious injury to occur due to a slippage.
Preventing slips is actually quite simple: just surround the pool area with exposed aggregate concrete. The textured stones that are mixed into the concrete create the anti-slip technology that will help keep the kids safe around the pool. It’s an added bonus that exposed aggregate is modern, trendy, and recommended by any concrete contractor for pool areas.
Before you invest in exposed aggregate, make sure you’ve found a good concrete contractor. At Prestige Concrete Services, we’ve mastered the art of concreting over our 20+ years of experience as a professional business. If you’d like to know more about exposed aggregate, speak to a concrete contractor at Prestige Concrete Services today.