Child water safety advocate Laurie Lawrence is calling on pool owners to check the safety of their pool gates.
Lawrence says faulty pool gates and fences remain a leading cause of drownings in Aussie kids under five, and that 12 Aussie children under the age of five lost their lives because of swimming pool drownings in 2017/18, with hundreds more involved in non-fatal drowning incidents.
“Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in children in Australia,” Lawrence says.
“Kids gaining access to pools because of faulty gates is something that should not be happening. Pool owners need to check their fences, latches and hinges regularly, as a gate that is not self-closing and self-latching provides instant and often undetected access for toddlers to the pool area.”
D&D Technologies, the manufacturer of the MagnaLatch pool safety gate latch, last year launched National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day with Laurie Lawrence’s KidsAlive water safety program to help curb childhood drownings caused by faulty pool gates.
“Australia has one of the highest pool-ownership rates per capita in the world, but the tragic fact is pool owners are not checking their pool gates and fences regularly,” says D&D’s technical director John Clark.
“Statistically, gates are the weakest link. We’ve known this for a long time and that’s why we are so committed to helping pool owners get serious about gate maintenance.
“All it takes is a few minutes to check your pool fences and gates, including latches and hinges, are in good working order. This simple routine at the start of summer could save the life of a child.”
Checklist for pool gates
• Gate should open outwards, away from the pool
• Latch release knob should be at least 1500mm above ground level
• Gate must be self-closing and self-latching
• Gate hinges should be rust-free and bind-free
• Gate should carry reliable, tension-adjustable hinges
• Latch must be adjustable for height and width.
• Hinges must be adjustable for closing tension.
• Latch cannot be key locked in the “open” position
• Latch cannot be disengaged using implements
• Gate latch cannot be shaken or jolted open
• Gate will shut securely from any open angle or force
• Gate complies with all Australian Standards for pool safety