Tips for a safe pool

Swimming pools should be fun. However, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in Queensland for children aged under 5 years.

Supervising young children, teaching them to swim at a young age and effective pool fencing can save lives.

This page provides:

  • solutions to some common compliance issues for existing pools, whether it’s in a house, townhouse, unit, hotel, motel, backpacker hostel or caravan park
  • simple, cost-effective tips for complying with the pool safety laws and make your pool safer.

All can be completed by you or a pool safety inspector with an unconditional licence.

For details and helpful photos, download our tips for making your pool safer (PDF, 1MB).

Surrounding garden beds and ground levels

A pool barrier must be at least 1200mm in height above the ground level.

The ground level or garden beds surrounding the barrier may reduce this height if they’ve been raised or grown over time.

To comply:

  • remove surrounding garden beds
  • reduce the height of surrounding ground levels and garden beds
  • raise the barrier height to at least 1200mm above the finished ground level. (If the work involves more than 2.4m of barrier or more than 2 posts, you need a Form 26—Pool safety non-conformity notice from a pool safety inspector before starting work.)

Pool gates

Non-compliant pool gates can give a child access to a pool area.

Common problems include:

  • gates opening inwards towards the pool area
  • gates not self-closing and self-latching from all positions
  • gates with semi-functional or non-functional hinges or closing mechanisms that stop the gate closing completely.

To comply:

  • adjust the gate to make it swing outwards away from the pool area
  • install a striker or latch to make the gate self-latching
  • adjust the self-closing mechanism or replace the hinges to make the gate self-closing
  • tighten the hinges to ensure they can hold the gate
  • oil the hinges if the gate isn’t closing properly
  • maintain the gate regularly.

Fixed, climbable objects

Fixed, climbable objects can give a child access to a pool area.

These objects include:

  • taps or light fittings on nearby walls
  • branches of nearby trees or shrubs that are below the pool barrier height
  • bracing on a deck within the vicinity of the pool area.

To comply:

  • shield climbable objects such as deck bracing or wall fittings with a non-climbable material such as flat polycarbonate sheeting, vertical palings or a shield with an angle of 60 degrees or more
  • trim any branches within 900mm of the pool barrier (and negotiate with your neighbour, if necessary, to remove any on an adjacent property).

Moveable, climbable objects

A child can use moveable, climbable objects to access a pool area, such as pot plants, outdoor furniture and step ladders.

To comply:

  • remove all climbable objects within 900mm of the pool barrier
  • secure all moveable objects near the pool area.

Windows that access the pool area

A building with windows can give a child access to a pool if the windows open more than 100mm and directly into a pool area.

Installing window locks isn’t an acceptable solution because they can be left unlocked.

To comply:

  • fix a rivet or screw in the window tracks to stop it opening more than 100mm
  • insert a permanent window chock to stop the window opening more than 100mm
  • install permanently fixed security screens on windows that open into the pool area.

Climbable pool barriers

The pool barrier itself may be climbable and provide foot or hand holds for a child to access the pool area, such as:

  • an intersecting fence with horizontal cross rails within reach of the top of the pool barrier
  • lattice or another climbable material on the pool barrier
  • climbable vegetation.

To comply:

  • fix a wedge fillet (minimum 60-degree angle) along the barrier’s horizontal rails
  • shield any lattice or other climbable material with non-climbable material, such as flat polycarbonate sheeting or vertical palings
  • trim any climbable vegetation on the barrier.

Damaged pool barriers

A pool barrier that is in disrepair, or has missing, loose or damaged palings, can give a child easy access to a pool are by:

  • providing a gap of more than 100mm
  • reducing the height of the barrier.

To comply:

  • repair, replace or adjust the palings
  • add non-climbable bracing to the barrier for greater stability.