Pool SafetyNever take your eyes off children in and around the pool. Active supervision means that the child is consistently watched by an adult within arms reach.
Home Pool Safety
Safety barriers – a legal requirementIt is law that swimming pools or spas on private residential properties in Victoria provide safety barriers to restrict access to the pool or spa. Every private swimming pool or spa capable of containing a depth of water exceeding 300mm must have a childproof safety barrier.
A building permit is also required prior to installing the barrier. Safety barriers, even when provided, are no substitute for adult supervision of toddlers and children who are playing in or near swimming pools or spas.
To ensure that your safety barrier remains effective
- fit and maintain correct safety measures to gates, doors and
windows (e.g. self-closing, self-latching devices, flyscreens)
- make sure you remove any items such as chairs, boxes, pool
pumps that could be used to climb the barrier to access the pool.
Pool Safety Tips
- Supervision means constant visual contact, not the occasional glance.
- Even in a supervised public pool never take your eyes off children swimming and if they are under 5 you must be within arms reach.
- If you leave the pool or water area, even for a moment, take the children with you. A swimming pool fence is not a substitute for supervision.
- Display a resuscitation chart on your pool fence.
- Familiarise children with water by taking them to learn to swim lessons, run by accredited AUSTSWIM teachers, at the local pool.
- Empty paddling pools when they are not in use.
- Empty baths, basins, sinks, buckets and troughs, immediately after use.
Always Swim Between the FlagsAny beach can be dangerous. Beach-goers should be careful and always swim between the red and yellow flags, which indicate that the beach is patrolled. When swimming between the red and yellow flags, always look back to the beach to check that you are still between the flags. If you choose to swim outside these flags, you could be moving into a more dangerous location.
What is a patrolled beach?Patrolled beaches are identified by red and yellow flags. With 67 of Victoria’s most popular beaches having lifesaving patrols during the summer months, there’s no reason for you not to swim between the flags. For further information on professional and volunteer patrols check the Life Saving Victoria website.
What if a beach is not patrolled?As beaches are not patrolled every day of the year, please remember to:
- check it’s OK to swim
- never swim alone,
- read and obey the water safety signs.
What is a Rip?A rip is a strong water current running out to sea from a beach. Rips can easily sweep swimmers out to sea from shallow water, sometimes several hundred metres offshore. Rips occur at all beach locations, including bays. Common signs of a rip are:
- murky brown water caused by sand and seaweed
- being stirred up off the sea bed
- foam on the surface extending beyond the break
- waves breaking on both sides of the rip but not inside the rip (the rip may seem calm and inviting)
- water that appears dark, indicating deeper water
- debris floating out to sea.
You can survive rip currents by knowing your options:
- For assistance stay calm, float and attract attention.
- To escape a rip, swim parallel to the beach.
- Always conserve your energy, waves can assist you back to the beach.
Inland Water Safety
Look Before You LeapMany people drown in Victoria’s rivers, lakes and dams or are paralysed after diving into shallow water. The best way to check it’s OK to swim is to ask someone who knows the area, such as a shopkeeper, caravan park owner or park ranger.
- Lakes may look calm but are often very dangerous. Strong winds can create choppy conditions making it dangerous for swimming and boating.
- Strong currents are likely wherever a river enters a lake, and the lake bed may be soft and uneven where silt has been deposited.
- Cold water in lakes can be lethal. It is often much colder beneath the surface than you think. Suddenly submerging into cold water can cause distress, shock and lack of mobility. If you feel cold, get out of the water immediately.
- Never swim in fast-flowing water. Check the speed first by throwing in a twig to see how fast it travels.
- If you are caught in a current, float on your back and travel downstream, feet first, to protect your head from impact with any objects.
- Beware of submerged objects. Trees, branches, rocks and discarded rubbish can be very dangerous.
- Be careful not to stand near the edge of overhanging river banks, which can crumble away.
- Conditions can change rapidly due to heavy rainfall or the release of water from storage areas. Remember that what is safe in the morning can be dangerous by the afternoon.
- Watch out for soft or uneven river beds, which can cause difficulties for waders or swimmers.