Make Portable Pools SAFE

Monday, November 19, 2018

In the lead-up to summer and Christmas, South Australians are being warned about the dangers of portable pools.


The ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’ initiative is in response to statistics showing that on average one child dies from drowning in a portable pool every year, with others needing hospital treatment and some suffering permanent brain damage.


The campaign involves consumer law / product safety regulators and the Royal Life Saving Society. It is supported by drowning prevention ambassadors, including a mum whose son died in December 2017, two years after suffering irreversible neurological injuries when drowning in an unfenced portable pool at a relative’s house in Perth.


Under the Australian Consumer Law, pools that can hold 30cm of water must have warning labels drawing the buyer’s attention to the drowning risk and local fencing laws. This applies to small blow-up or plastic paddling pools to bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame.


Several major Australian retailers have agreed to go the extra mile and display ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’ promotional materials in store and put stickers on portable pool boxes as products are bought.


The key messages to parents and carers are:

  • Supervise. Actively watch children within arm’s reach. Don’t leave children in charge.
  • Act. Learn CPR –start compressions and breaths as soon as possible when a child is pulled from the water and call triple zero (000) for help.
  • Fence. In most 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 Government agency.
  • Empty. For pools that don’t need to be fenced, keep watch all day, then pour out water and store away from children, in a place where it can’t refill with rain or sprinkler water.


Don’t duck out of the responsibilities that come with buying a portable pool, which may include putting up a safety barrier when you set up the product at home. Anyone thinking about purchasing a portable pool should check out