Ask Finder: Do I really need a fence for my backyard wading pool?

Posted: 1 March 2019 10:07 am

Australia has strict pool fencing regulations, even for inflatable pools.

Hi Finder,

My niece and nephew came to visit this weekend and we set up an inflatable pool so they could splash around. My nosy neighbour spotted us from his window and said we needed to install a fence if we’re going to let kids swim in the backyard, even if it’s just in a paddling pool.

Do I really need a fence for my inflatable pool?

Concerned Pool Enthusiast

Hi Concerned Pool Enthusiast,

Your neighbour may be right. Inflatable pools, also known as wading, paddling or kiddie pools, are subject to the same pool fencing requirements as permanent pools. Whether you need a fence for your inflatable pool depends on the following:

  1. How deep the pool is. Any pool deeper than 30cm or 300mm faces standard pool fence regulations, including inflatable pools. Generally, if the pool is deeper than 30cm, you need to install a pool fence or you could face steep fines. For example, in NSW, fines range from $500 to $1,500 for temporary, inflatable and portable pools that don’t meet the required standards.
  2. Where you live. Australian pool fence regulations vary by location. To make sure your pool is up to code, check out the specific requirements for your state or territory below:

While it may seem drastic to build a fence for an inflatable pool, children can drown in just a few centimetres of water. In fact, an average of one child per year drowns in a portable pool in Australia. Several manufacturers make portable pool fences that are designed specifically for inflatable and temporary pools. These fences are cheaper than permanent fencing, but they’re subject to the same fencing requirements as any other pool fence.

If you want the kids to be able to splash around in the backyard on hot days, but don’t want to build a pool fence, look for a kiddie pool that is less than 30cm deep. While most portable pools sold in Australia are 30cm or deeper, you can find shallower pools designed for babies and toddlers. Remember, even if you have a pool fence, children should be supervised at all times when in or near a pool to make sure everyone stays safe.

What kind of fence do I need?

While pool fences come in a variety of materials, styles and costs, all pool fences must meet safety standards.
In general, your pool fence must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a minimum height of 1.2m
  • Have a minimum distance of 90cm between the top of the fence and any climbable object
  • Have no gaps of more than 10cm
  • Must be constructed from durable materials such as metal or safety glass
  • Must have self-closing gates that open away from the pool with latches on the pool side of the gate
  • Have no climbing footholds

For more information, check out our guide to pool fencing.

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