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Swimming Pool Safety

Pool Safety Measures  

Drowning in backyard pools is one of the leading causes of child deaths in NSW. Help prevent drowning by following these simple safety measures:

Install child resistant fencing 
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 requires a swimming pool to be surrounded by an approved child resistant barrier. Council officers undertake routine inspections of all existing swimming pools in the City of Ryde to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act. Furthers details about fencing requirements are listed on this page.

Do not leave objects near the barrier 
Children may use objects left near the barrier to climb over. 

Supervise your children 
A secure pool is no substitute for responsible adult supervision. Children in or around the water must be supervised at all times, no matter what their swimming ability.

Teach your children to swim 
It is essential that children are taught to swim from an early age. The Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre runs Learn to Swim classes throughout the year, including during the upcoming school holidays. Call 8878 5111 for details. 

Learn resuscitation techniques 
Training in resuscitation techniques will give adults the skills required in an emergency situation. Resuscitation charts are required to be displayed within the pool enclosure. You can purchase a resuscitation chart from the Council. Call 9952 8222 for details.

Did You Know?

  • Pool covers are not a child resistant barrier
  • All above ground swimming pools are required to be surrounded by a child resistant barrier
  • Existing swimming pool safety fencing previously approved by Council cannot be removed
  • The cost of altering and maintaining an existing dividing fence forming part of a required child resistant barrier is your responsibility
  • Window and door openings must not open directly into a swimming pool area.

Keep Watch

Royal Life Saving’s ‘Keep Watch’ program stresses the importance of supervision.

Regardless of the aquatic location, supervision means being within arm’s reach of your children whenever they are in, on or around water. 

Drowning deaths can occur in the time it takes to answer the doorbell, run and get a change of clothes or make a cup of coffee. Drowning is swift and silent which is why parents must be within arm’s reach of young children in water. 

The ‘Keep Watch’ program consists of four key tips:

  • Young children need to be supervised constantly (within arm’s reach) whenever they are in, on or around water
  • Restricting a young child’s access to water either by putting a barrier around the water or around the child is also effective in preventing drowning deaths
  • Undertaking water familiarisation with your child will help you to become aware of the dangers
  • Learning resuscitation can help if an incident does occur. Learning these techniques today may save your child’s life.

Water familiarisation classes build confidence and introduce children to basic water safety; and learning to swim is a vital skill for all ages, especially children. 

Ensuring your child receives quality teaching is important – because learning to swim is a skill for life. 

For more information see the Royal Life Saving website.

Make sure your pool complies with safety regulations

New regulations passed by the NSW Government at the end of 2009 increased the maximum on-the-spot fine for pool owners if their backyard pool fence fails to meet safety requirements from $220 to $550, with the maximum court imposed penalty increasing from $1100 to $5500. 

The changes also remove the exemptions for large, small or water front properties and allow Council to urgently fix pool fencing where this is an immediate risk to public safety and the owner has refused to fix the problem. 

Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992, a swimming pool is a pool with a depth of 300mm or more. 

Any such swimming pool must have a fence surrounding it in compliance with the Act and Australian Standards.

  • The fence must be at least 1.2 metres high, and have no horizontal footholds
  • The pool gate must be self closing and self latching
  • Council approval or certification is required for most pools.

Enquiries should be made with Council prior to the erection or purchase of a pool particularly since the cost of a pool fence and the development application can be in excess of the cost of the pool itself. 

For further information and advice regarding pools and fencing requirements contact Council's Customer Service on 9952 8222.


Last updated on 3 May 2016