A warning has been issued to Australian pools owners after a popular pool fence will remain on the market despite failing national safety standards.
The Be-Safe portable pool gate by Hunter Products has serious design flaws to do with the height of its latch and the gaps around it – making the gate a hazard for young children.
Australian safety standards say pool fence latches must reach 1200mm but the Be-Safe gate is barely 870mm high.
The product is sold exclusively by Clark Rubber and retails for $799.
The Be-Safe portable pool gate (pictured) has designed flaws centred around the functionality of its latch and the gaps between it and the adjoining fence
Australian safety standards say pool fence latches must reach 1200mm but the Be-Safe gate is barely 870mm high
Leading Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE began investigating potential shortcomings in the fence’s design after a video showing a four-year-old Queensland boy opening the fence emerged last December.
Little Curtis Modrow’s mother Sandy Behrens was shocked when he opened the gate unassisted and made his way to the above ground pool on Christmas Day.
‘He put his hands through the pool gate, undid the latch and pushed through. Then he stepped up onto the ladder,’ she told CHOICE.
At the time, the group had several experts examine the fence to see if it met safety standards.
‘It didn’t take me long to realise there’s a major problem with it,’ said John Dimmock of My Pool Inspections.
‘It’s ridiculous. If I came across it, it would be a major non-compliance. It should absolutely not be on sale.’
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE says the gate’s latch does not adhere to Australian safety standards
Further tests revealed the pool’s latch, which was found to not work consistently, can be easily opened by children due to a gap between the fence and the gate.
Despite claims the gate’s design is ineffective, Clark Rubber is not investing in a recall of the product, instead it has sent out new instruction manuals to customers to with new instructions on how the fence can be installed with components closer together.
On Clark Rubber’s website, the product is advertised as a ‘portable pool fence starter kit’ and when installed on a grassy area, follows Australian safety standards.