Inflatable pools and spas must have a safety barrier

Inflatable pools and spas may seem like a good way to keep cool in the warmer months, but they also increase the risk of drowning if safety precautions are not taken and building regulations not complied with.

Wodonga Council's Municipal Building Surveyor David Seal is issuing the warning in the lead up to summer and in light of increasing availability of inflatable spas and pools.

"All swimming pools and spas capable of holding water to a depth of 30cm (300mm) or more are subject to a building permit and are required to be surrounded by a pool barrier," he said.

"This includes bathing, wading, inflatable above ground pools and spas, indoor pools and hot tubs."

And as a timely reminder, all gates, windows, fences or walls forming part of a pool barrier are to be properly installed, fully compliant and must be kept in good working order at all times.

Despite significant reductions in toddler drowning deaths over time, drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children under five years of age.

Statistics from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report show that in 2017-2018, 18 Australian children aged 0 to 4 years drowned.

The majority of these drowning incidents (67 per cent) occurred in swimming pools.

While pool and spa barriers can be effective in reducing the risk of drowning incidents, evidence suggests a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty or non-compliant with Australian standards.