Deaths by drowning are tragic – especially because they are usually children. Historically, there have been far too many cases in South Africa where toddlers have fallen into swimming pools and died or been left brain-damaged from a near drowning. This continues to happen, despite the availability of safety equipment, such as pool nets, and fences. For this reason, the South African Standards Bureau released a set of swimming pool safety standards in 2018.
Swimming Pool Safety Standards
- Every pool that holds more than 30cm of water must surrounded by a fence. The must be a minimum height of 1.2m, and it must be sunk into the ground to a depth of at least 50cm. It must have vertical rails children cannot climb. All gates must self-closing should be locked or bolted when the pool is not is use.
- Even with a fence around it that meets these standards, every pool it must be covered with a safety net or pool cover when not being used.
- Pool covers and nets need to secure, properly fitted and ‘child-proof’. For pools that are 24m or less at their widest point, nets and covers must be able to carry a weight of 125kg without coming loose. The figure is 220kg for pools over 24m – the weight of two adults and a child if a child needs ‘rescued’ from the top of a net or cover.
- All pool nets must be installed by an accredited pool professional.
- Pool covers must be tightly secured. It should not allow water to pool to any depth in the middle. Covers must have a child-proof lock device or key lock.
- Unsafe pools should be emptied.
- The above standards are applicable to both property owners and tenants.
- It is recommended that a piece of pool equipment (eg. a pool skimmer) on a long pole, be kept at the pool. This can be used to assist a child in distress.
- Pool enclosure should be regularly inspected for damage.
Keeping our children safe from drowning has become a top priority for many pool owners country wide. We are definitely out door people and enjoy pool parties all year round, so keeping to the new regulations is important. Ask your local pool professional for their advice on the most aesthetically pleasing pool safety solution for your pool.