Hidden dangers of inflatable or wading pools

SUMMER is off to a scorcher, with greater Perth and much of the South West on track for the hottest November on record.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Glenn Cook said Perth’s average maximum so far for November was 29.7C. That’s 0.1C higher than the previous hottest November record set in 2010. ( PerthNow 24/11/17 )

Temperatures have been well above average near the West Coast, and a number of locations will record one of their warmest Novembers on record it is reported.

But with these higher temperatures come many dangers around water, as people “Beat The Heat” to cool off and one of the biggest is drowning, especially with portable inflatable or wading pools.

The WA Ombudsman this week recommended placing an onus on retailers and suppliers to warn customers about the dangers of portable pools and the need to comply with the law at the point of sale.

At Poolmart, we stock pool toys of various guises and descriptions, but we do not stock or sell portable blow up, temporary pools of any type.

Under WA law, a barrier has to erected around any “pool” deeper than 30cm while a building permit is needed for a portable pool or spa that remains set up for more than a month. Portable pools and spas must also display a warning on the packaging. I bet you only thought it was permanent pools that needed a barrier or building permits for them.

As we deal with permanent pools for Pool Inspections, it is still likely that you may attend a friends / relatives premises and they may well have a temporary pool in place.

So be aware, stay safe and above all if you do come across a portable or wading pool without a barrier…… SPEAK UP ! Its better to be safe than sorry.

Example of a compliant portable pool and barrier

Example of a compliant portable pool and barrier

 Empty and store



What is an inflatable or portable swimming pool?

Inflatable or portable pools are pools which can be inflated or easily assembled, and are not permanent. Australian Consumer Law (ACL) defines portable swimming pools as a pool that is for personal use and includes inflatable pools of any depth, soft-sided pools of any depth, and rigid-sided swimming pools with a depth of less than 30cm of water.1

How may children be injured when using an inflatable or portable swimming pool?


  • Toddlers can drown in as little as 5cm of water. Pools left unattended or unfenced are a potential drowning hazard.
  • Children may drown in small amounts of water from rain or sprinklers collected in inflatable or portable pools.


  • Electrical pumps and filter systems for portable swimming pools may cause electrocution if not used properly.


  • Children can become ill when pool water is not emptied and if it is not properly treated.  Bacteria and viruses thrive in the warm, shallow water.

All portable and inflatable pools must have warning labels with information about the importance of supervision, maintaining clean pool water and storing away the pool when not in use.  Portable and inflatable pools that can be filled with more than 30cm of water must also include a warning label about mandatory fencing requirements.5

The law also states that owners of a property with a swimming pool that is able to be filled with more than 30cm of water should:

  • Maintain child-resistant barriers (e.g. pool fencing) so they are effective
  • Ensure all doors and gates providing access to the swimming pool are kept securely closed at all times
  • Ensure that at all times a CPR sign is displayed in the area near the pool and can be seen from a distance of three meters. This sign should be clearly visible and contain approved resuscitation techniques.