Paddling pools may need fencing

20:34, Nov 27 2013

New regulations that would require some paddling pools to be fully fenced off will save lives, says the Minister for Building and Construction.

Maurice Williamson today announced new laws that would see paddling pools containing water to a depth of 30cm needing a secure fence around them.

He said amendments to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act were expected to save the lives of at least six children who drown in home swimming pools every 10 years.

Before the Act was introduced in 1987, there up to 100 drownings every decade, and current figures were now at about 30.

"Changes will also remove inconsistent and cumbersome rules. This will be a relief for pool owners who have long been frustrated trying to satisfy the absolute letter of the law as opposed to focusing on the intent of trying to save lives," Williamson said.

Changes to the Act will also  require councils to inspect swimming pools at least every five years, and require pool retailers to inform buyers of their safety obligations.

Williamson said the changes struck a balance between child safety and compliance costs.

Parents who failed to properly fence their paddling pools could be liable for a fine of up to $500.