Parents with faulty pool fencing are the focus of a new campaign after more than 20 children drowned in backyard pools in Australia in one year.
The Kidsafe Victoria program is calling on pool owners to check their pool barriers and gates to reduce drownings in backyard pools.
Among the biggest dangers to young children around pools are faulty gates that do not close or climbable objects left near the fence.
Kidsafe Victoria president Robert Caulfield says a large number of drownings are caused by faulty pool fencing that is sub-standard.
"The tragedy of a drowning incident can have a lifetime impact on family and friends," Mr Caulfield said.
"Children drown quickly and quietly and we urge all parents with pools or visiting homes with pools or spas to make sure they maintain constant supervision of their children around water."
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) also urged homeowners to check the safety fencing around their pool and/or spa is secure and doesn’t need repair.
“Fencing a pool appropriately and ensuring it has been checked and approved by a building surveyor is critical to ensuring you are providing a safer environment for children,” said the Victorian Building Authority’s Technical and Regulation Director, Dennis Hogan said.
“While there are many steps, like adult supervision, that help keep children safe around pools, one of the most critical is making sure your pool has fencing that meets the legal requirements. Both above and in- ground pools need to have fencing.”
“Fencing that doesn’t comply with the Building Regulations 2006, could result in the pool or spa owner receiving a fine of up to $7200,” Mr Hogan said.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under five years old - 21 children in this age group drowned in Australia in 2011.
Swimming pools are the most common location for drownings, accounting for 38% of fatal incidents.
For more information on child safety around pools visit http://www.kidsafevic.com.au