Concerns are rising among local government officials and leaders in the water and pool safety industry due to the ongoing occurrence of child drownings in private pools in South Africa. The statistics reveal that around 250 people annually experience drowning incidents in pools, indicating a need for immediate measures to minimise these tragic accidents. PowerPlastics Pool Covers, with over 30 years of leading expertise in pool safety, actively participates in this crucial discussion.
“Pool safety is presently regulated by SANS 10400D, primarily focused on limiting public access to properties. A newer standard, SANS 10134, introduced in 2018, outlines suggested safety measures for pools, but it’s not mandatory for new pool owners. Unfortunately, tragic drownings persist, prompting ongoing discussions for additional legislative actions to encourage pool owners to implement these safety recommendations more actively. Despite the hope for responsible adult behavior around pools, ongoing tragedies emphasise the pressing need for more proactive adoption of these recommended standards,” according to Roger Bester, PowerPlastics Pool Covers.
The call is for security within a 5m perimeter of the pool and can be obtained with walls, fences with self-locking gates, pool nets and/or safety pool covers. One of these needs to be readily available on a site to ensure child safety and enable the pool to meet the recommendations of SANS 10134 and international swimming pool safety standards.
In unfortunate incidents involving child drownings, the responsibilities of homeowners in constructing safe pools and the obligations of child caregivers at such sites need clarity. Questions about what defines a responsible adult, perhaps at age 14, and their readiness in handling emergencies like administering first responder CPR, remain crucial.
As building professionals, the design of a pool and its future safety is of critical importance. Pools should also be made safe as properties transfer from one owner to the next and circumstances change.
“These are critical discussions that must take place to ensure a fair and reasonable approach to swimming pools but not overshadowing fundamental safety. Child drownings are almost always preventable accidents if the correct measures of pool safety are applied.
“If you look at the automotive industry, no car is made without seatbelts, and it is the law that every child must wear one. The same for pools. Each pool must be safe. Even if you don’t have children, you are still going to have children visiting the home. Consider how many drowning tragedies involve the children of domestic workers who occasionally accompany parents to work,” says Bester.
PowerPlastics Pool Covers played a significant role in engaging SABS to integrate pool safety into building standards. This ongoing discussion aims beyond safety measures, striving to produce concrete steps for a substantial reduction in child drownings in private pools.
Stay updated on the progress of this new by-law by following PowerPlastics Pool Covers and its CSI platform, TopStep by PowerPlastics Pool Covers, on social media.