Drowning – a terrible (and avoidable) tragedy


Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in young children. We were all harshly reminded of this fact over the festive season with the tragic news of the drowning death of three toddlers. 

In fact here in NSW we experienced an absolutely disastrous start to summer with a total of 15 people losing their lives in the water. Three of those 15 people were the toddlers mentioned, one was a teenage boy and the remaining 11 were adults. So clearly it’s not just young children who are susceptible to the dangers posed by water without a strong degree of vigilance.

Surf lifesaving spokesman, Liam Howitt said it was the highest drowning death toll he’d seen over a festive season, adding that the drownings didn’t just happen in the surf but also in lakes, inland rivers, fishponds and backyard pools.

This prompts us to remind you that a backyard pool isn’t just the traditional resort style built-in pool we envisage when we think of a swimming pool.

The definition of a swimming pool is an excavation, structure or vessel that is:

  • Capable of being filled with water to a depth greater that 300 millimetres, and
  • Solely or principally used or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.

We would like to also take this opportunity to remind you about the regulations for pool safety.

Pool fencing MUST:

  • Be a child-restraint barrier that separates the pool from any residential building on the premises and from any public or private place adjoining the premises,
  • Be free from defect, sturdy and with no climbing points around the perimeter, including vegetation,
  • Be free from any loose panels,
  • Be free from gaps through which a small child could squeeze,
  • Have a self-closing and locking gate that cannot be opened by a child under 6 years, and
  • Fully enclose the pool.

With many drowning tragedies occurring in backyard pools we would like to assure all tenants that all our rental properties comply with NSW pool safety regulations, meaning they have all the required safety barriers and signage in place. You will find a copy of the Pool Certification Certificate with your Lease Agreement. We also hold a copy of the certificate on your file at the office.

A word of caution…

Having a fully compliant backyard pool does not detract from the need to be vigilant around the pool and other bodies of water however, especially when there are young children around. Remember, it only takes seconds for a young child to wander into a pool area if the gate has been left unlatched or climb the fence if a chair has been placed against it, so these are things all tenants with backyard pools need to be mindful of.

If you detect any damage to a pool fence and safety barrier that poses an immediate threat to the safety of children on the property, you are urged to notify us immediately. If you are unable to contact us for whatever reason, you are reminded that Section 64 of the Act enables tenants to carry out urgent repairs and be reimbursed up to $1000 for any fault or damage that causes the premises to be unsafe under certain circumstances. This includes times when the landlord or agent cannot be contacted or does not carry out the repairs within a reasonable timeframe.

Submit a tenant repair request via our Maintenance Manager app. (iTunes for apple OR google play android if you have not installed it already). If you require repairs on your rental property or (if the repair is urgent and you can’t get it attended to within a reasonable timeframe) head to our list of reputable trades people to find the right tradesperson to attend to the issue at hand.