In South Africa, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death, after vehicle accidents. Of those drownings, between 60 and 90 percent occur in residential pools! That is an extremely sobering thought, especially as we head full tilt into summer when tens of thousands of people will be spending plenty of time splashing around in their swimming pools. To avoid tragedy these holidays, please take the time to make sure you know the legislated pool safety rules. It’s vital to take every possible precaution to keep your loved ones safe this summer.
It’s not enough for you to stand and watch your children while they swim. According to medical aid service provider Fedhealth, 90% of children who drown in swimming pools do so while under supervision. In most cases, the adult gets distracted just long enough for the child to drown. Children only need 5 cm of water to drown, so you simply cannot afford to take your eyes off them for a second.
What Are South Africa’s Pool Safety Regulations?
According to Section D4 of the National Building Regulations, owners of properties with swimming pools must comply with the following rules:
- The swimming pool must be enclosed by a wall or fence that has a self-closing and self-locking gate attached to it.
- This wall or fence must not be less than 1.2 m high, measured from ground level.
- The gaps between the railings of the fence must not be wide enough to allow a ball, with the diameter of 100mm, to pass through.
- The construction of any steel fence or gate must comply with the requirements in SANS 1390.
The frightening thing is, although these pool safety regulations are not difficult to comply with, a disconcertingly high number of homeowners either don’t know what they are or fail to adhere to them.
In a survey conducted recently, 44% of respondents had experienced a child drowning, either in their own family or in their neighbourhood or social circle. Yet only 14% were aware of the laws concerning the access control of residential swimming pools! And 15% didn’t have any kind of safety measure in place around their pool at all, relying instead on inflatable swimming aids to keep their children safe.
These measures are simply not enough, so please come and talk to the experts at Pool Spa and Filtration supplies. We’re more than happy to go through all the pool safety regulations with you, and see how we can help you make your swimming pool safe for your loved ones – and their friends, – this summer.