State-by-state Guide to Australia’s Backyard Pool Rules

Summer is just around the corner, and if you have a pool or even an inflatable pool from Kmart, you need to know and abide by the backyard pool rules.

According to the National Drowning Report, 276 people lost their lives from drowning in 2018.

Of these deaths:

  • 19 were aged between 0 and 4, an increase of 12 per cent compared to 2017
  • 8 were aged between 5 and 15, the same as last year.
  • Swimming pools were the leading location for drowning in children aged between 0-4, accounting for 64 per cent of all deaths.
According to the National Drowning Report, last year there were 271 drowning deaths around Australia.

DIVIDERSo what are the minimum backyard pool rules and fencing requirements?

In Australia, all small inflatable or portable backyard pools must be fenced if they can be filled with 30cm or more of water. 30cm may not seem like much, but it is enough for a child to drown in.

To stop young children from being able to squeeze themselves under or between gaps in a fence, or climb over a fence, your pool fence must at a minimum;

  • Be a minimum 1.2m high from the finished ground level.
  • Leave no gap from the bottom of the fence bigger than 10cm from the finished ground level.
  • Have no gaps of more than 10cm between any vertical bars in the fence.
  • If bars are horizontal climbable bars, they should be spaced at least 90cm apart.
  • No objects, external walls, house dwellings to be installed in a way that allows access over, under or through a pool fence, including garden furniture, window sills and retaining walls.

These backyard pool rules are designed to keep kids safe. But it is important to note that it’s not only permanent or portable pools that pose a drowning risk. Everyday household items such as buckets filled with water for the dog, shell pools or esky’s with melted ice water after a party could all be potential drowning hazards if left unsupervised.

Every death is a tragedy regardless of the circumstance. We encourage all pool owners, parents and caregivers to be vigilant regarding water and pool safety.

Download your copy of the Royal Life Saving Home Pool Safety Checklist here and keep your family safe.


NSW | VIC | SA | WA | NT | TAS | ACT | QLD  


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Kim is 29 years old. She has been with her husband for 15 years and married for 8. They have a son who is a cheeky toddler constantly testing their parenting abilities. She loves gardening, eating, bootcamp and sleeping. She hates rude people, alarm clocks and buying cards for presents.

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