Breaking down the rules and regulations
The Building Act, and in particular Clause 9 which relates to 'The Restricting Access to Residential Pools' spells out in black and white what your responsibilities are as a pool owner.
It lists the minimum heights of gates and how the latches and barriers work, right down to how a spa pool must be convex to ensure that water does not pool in the centre of it creating a drowning hazard.
The objective of the building regulations is to ensure that a minimum standard of fencing is made with the objective of preventing death and injury especially in children under five.
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Chosing the right fit for a lifejacket for yourself and your child is cruical to your safety when out on the water. The key message is to invest in a jacket that fits your child now instead of later as a jacket must be the right size to ensure that they cannot slip out of it.
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Restricting your child's access to water:
- Make sure your pool or spa meets regulations under the Building Act
- Maintain and inspect pool fences and gates regularly
- Always drain the bath and close the door to the bathroom
- Create a child safe play area away from sources of water
- Turn buckets and tubs upside down. Never leave them unattended when full
- Install a thin layer of mesh under the surface of the water feature. Make sure it can hold a child's weight
- Adult supervision is a must at all times when your child is near a water source
- Don't leave your child in the hands of a teenager under 16. They are not capable of supervising your child in water environments.
- Lifeguards are not babysitters and
- Your child, your responsibility.
Create a child safety zone
By creating a child safe play area at your home, you give your child a place just for themselves which is far away from any water hazards. It can be an area that is carefully planned and designated location which is securely fenced to prevent a young child gaining access to any water sources you may have near.
Pool fencing guidelines found in the Building Act Clause 9 which relates to restricting access to residential pools, can offer you advice about child resistant gates and latches and materials used to create the fence.
Child safe play areas are particularly useful when you have a section of water that cannot be fenced such as a river, lake or stream, or on a farm where dams are used for stock and cannot be isolated.
They can be used both inside and outside the house to assist parents being able to actively supervise your child in a safe zone. They are also good on farms to prevent children wandering into the farm environment without adult supervision. There is a place for them in the home as well as a way for children not to gain access to a water hazard source found in a bathroom or laundry.
Include your child’s toys in the safe play area and it must be easily seen by parents and carers, and regularly checked to ensure it is sturdy enough.
Materials for the fence can easily be obtained at hardware stores and places like Bunnings have a range of pool fences specifically designed for the purpose.
Like the Building Act says, a pool fence (child safety play area fence) should be sturdy enough to prevent a child from climbing on them; have no gaps in the bottom of the fence which gives your child the opportunity to climb under the fence; it should have self-closing and latching locks on it to prevent your child from escaping.