Preventing Backyard Pool Drowning Incidents

Kidsafe recommends that parents and carers take the following precautions to reduce the risk of child drowning.


Never take your eyes off children around water.

Active Supervision involves parents and carers keeping an eye on children at all times. Do not expect older children to look after their younger siblings. Children have short attention spans and can be easily distracted.

Remain within arms reach at all times. This will ensure that you can get to the child in time if something does go wrong.

Take children with you if you leave the pool area, even for a minute.

Restrict access

Restrict children’s access to water through the use of safety barriers such as pool fencing.

Remove hazards such as pot plants and chairs well away from pool fences to avoid children climbing on to them and over the fence.

Do not prop any doors or gates open that allow children access to the pool area.

Create a safe play area for children away from bodies of water such as pools.


Water familiarisation lessons can assist in teaching children to swim while also helping them understand water safety.

Enrol in a resuscitation course and update skills annually so you are able to respond in case of an emergency.

Resuscitation posters are a good reminder to keep around pools and spas.


Swimming pools and spas

If you are renting a property that has a pool or outdoor spa, check that the fence or safety barrier is secure for you and others who live at or visit the property (especially children). All doors and gates that provide access to a pool or spa must have self-closing and self-latching devices.

The Victorian Building Authority, which replaced the Building Commission on 1 July 2013, recommends checking that:

Self-closing and self-latching devices on pool and spa doors and gates work properly

Gates are not misused by being propped open

There are no items that could be used to climb over the barrier within 900mm of the gate or fence; for example, tree branches, pool pumps or pot plants

Fences (especially boundary timber paling fences) are in good repair and cannot be climbed.

Tenants or residents should:

Ensure all gates to the swimming pool or spa area are closed at all times, except when entering or leaving the area

Notify the landlord or owner of any faults with pool or spa fences, doors or gates.

If there is a fault with the fence or barrier (including a gate or door) which causes it to be unsafe, it is an urgent repair and the landlord or owner must arrange for it to be fixed immediately.