Childproofing Your Fencing – Tips From the Experts

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Childproofing Your Fencing – Tips From the Experts

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, injury has now replaced disease as the biggest cause of death to Australian children, and more than half of all injuries children experience actually occur at home. However, the good news is that most of these accidents are preventable, and in terms of the installation of safe outdoor fencing, easily achievable. Here are some expert tips on childproofing your fencing.

Ensure you have a swimming pool fence that meets your state’s guidelines

According to last year’s Royal Life Saving Society’s National Drowning Report twenty-nine children aged under four drowned in 2016, which was a 32% increase on the previous year. It’s a sobering reminder of the importance of the need for state-approved pool fencing if you own a swimming pool. Strict regulations are in place to ensure fences around pools are childproof, and different states have different regulations.

In Queensland, pool building and fencing regulations are quite strict. All pools must be inspected before use and a safety certificate must be issued to the pool owner. These also need to be renewed annually or when a property is rented, sold or leased. And in every state, all pools over 300mm deep must have fencing that adheres to strict standards.

In order to have a childproof fencing, your choice of pool fencing is also important because basically it is designed to keep children out of the pool and pool area without adult supervision. Some of the basic rules for pool fencing include:

  • Fencing must be at least 1.2 metres high (measured from the outside of the fencing)
  • Boundary fences must be at least 1.8 metres high
  • Children should not be able to scale the fence
  • Fencing must be made from a durable material that can’t be broken through
  • Gaps in the fencing must be too small for children fit through
  • The gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence must not be greater than 100mm
  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching to prevent children from entering the pool area
  • Pool latches must be located inside the fence to prevent children from opening the gate

Here at FenceCorp, we offer standardised pool fencing options in over twenty designs and in a range of styles and colours. These include flat rails, lace in-fills, panels and tubular fencing, and we also offer custom design solutions from ornate to functional styles that are manufactured to your specific needs.

Make sure perimeter fences are sturdy, a decent height and unclimbable

In terms of baby proofing your home on the outside, there are a few general rules worth following in terms of the size and construction of your perimeter fence. A good quality fence is your best line of defence against unsupervised or unwanted exit and access. And it should not only keep your child away from roads and your neighbours’ yards, it should also keep neighbourhood animals out. A few guidelines are:

  • They should be at least 1200mm in height from the ground
  • The distance between the bars or panels should be no greater than 100mm
  • The distance between the ground and the bottom of the fence should be no greater than 100mm
  • The top surface of the fence should not be sharp, pointed or hazardous
  • They should be unclimbable (so no toeholds in frames, rails, mesh or posts) and anything a child might use as a ladder should be kept away from the fence

Your perimeter fence should also be made from fencing materials manufactured to Australian Standards (like ours!), and be devoid of protruding splinters, nails and wire ends. Some of the more popular fencing materials to consider include PVC, tubular steel, aluminium or glass.

Here at FenceCorp, we specialise in aluminium fencing that’s among the best quality fencing on the market today. All of our panels are approved by building authorities across the country, and manufactured and powder coated by us here in Australia.

Choose gates that are durable, extendable and impenetrable

When childproofing your fencing, gates should also be considered. Pressure-mounted child safety gates that adjust in size to accommodate differently sized doorframes can be used outdoors where you wish to keep your child out of areas like sheds and outside laundries for example. These are available in a variety of configurations and many have modular extensions that will accommodate almost any door width. 

A range of issues can adversely affect a safe installation, however. Considerable pressure needs to be applied for these gates to work effectively, so the two surfaces the gate is up against, need to be stable. Also, spacer blocks can accommodate a gate that is too small, but one that is too large simply won’t work. 

Self-closing gates are spring-latched with a self-latching mechanism, however, it is crucial that they are installed correctly and routinely checked to make sure the latching mechanism remains in good working order. Self-closing gates are particularly useful where the household includes older children who may not be as vigilant as the adults about keeping gates closed!

Modular gates are also ideal for enhancing child safety and instigating exclusion zones. These should be self-latching and self-closing from all open positions, and the gate latch release height should be at least 1400mm above the highest lower rail on the fence, and at least 1500mm above the ground.

Considering a new pool? Then you’ll need the appropriate pool fencing. Contact the professionals at FenceCorp today on (07) 3715 5055. 

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