Every year, nearly 300 children under 5 drown in pools, making it the most common cause of accidental death for children in that age range. One thing most of these pools had in common – they had no fence.
Even when it doesn’t lead to death, there are over 4,000 non-fatal drowning injuries involving children that involve a visit to the emergency room. Having a pool comes with its risks, but there are ways to mitigate them, chief among them is installing a fence, preferably with balustrade installations.
Types of Pools that need fencing
Any of these types of pools should be fenced;
- Pools that are in the ground, completely or partially
- Above ground pools, depending on the water depth (between 18 -24 inches)
- Outdoor spas and hot tubs, depending on the depth of the water.
Requirements for a Pool fence
The fence should be at least 1200mm. The pool should be enclosed on 3 sides, while the house serves as the 4th fence. The clearance under the fence should not exceed 4 inches to prevent a small child from crawling underneath. Position any tool that could be used to climb over the fence away from the pool. There should be at least a 900mm gap between the top of the fence and no object that can be used for climbing.
These include pool pumps, planters, and any other fixed objects. The pool gates should be self-closing and self-latching. If you want to save costs, you can go for aluminum tubular fencing. If you’d like to achieve something that is both secure and elegant, there’s the option of frameless or semi-frameless glass. Gaps in the fencing should not exceed 100mm
Alternative approaches to fencing
You could install a temporary mesh fence. This type of fence is usually light, yet durable. It would be placed a few feet away from the pool and can be installed by any competent handyman. It usually involves drilling holes into the concrete for its placement. It could also be held down by a water-filled base.
This type of fence can be bought at stores that stock pool equipment and home improvement stores. On the plus side, it’s easy to install. When there are no kids, you can easily remove it. On the downside, the quality of this fence cannot be easily guaranteed, as it depends on the type of material used in fabricating it. Fences made from low-quality materials could snap or bend under pressure.
Depending on where you are in Australia, there are distinct pool fencing regulations you should take note of. In Victoria, New South Wales South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the ACT, the relevant regulation is Australian Standard AS1926-2012. In the Northern Territory, the relevant rule is Australian Standard AS1926.1 – 1993. For Queensland, the AS 1926 – 2007 and QDC MP 3.4 are applicable.
A pool should be a place for relaxation. There should be no dark memories of this place. Ensure it stays that way when you install a fence.