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Swimming Pools

Unsafe vs safe skimmer box

Roxby Downs residents with domestic swimming pools are encouraged to check the design of their pool skimmer box.

If your swimming pool was installed pre-1993 it may have an older style skimmer box similar to the image on the left above.  This skimmer box design has been banned since 2010 as it a presents a signifcant hazard particularly for young children.  Note: there are various designs of the older style skimmer boxes - not necessarily the same as the picture above.

What to look for:

  • A removable skimmer box cover - does it come off easily?
  • A wide intake area - could a child easily put a limb or other body part into the intake area?

What are the risks?

Children have suffered serious injuries or died after sitting on open, potty-shaped skimmer boxes. The strong suction of the pool’s filter pump can cause serious and permanent injury to young children.  A non-child proof skimmer box with single suction point is a significant hazard and can result in the fatality of young children due to disembowelment.

Old fibreglass pools with skimmer boxes moulded into the side are highly unlikely to be safe as children can easily lift the cover and sit inside them.

  • Avoid using spas or swimming pools that have moulded skimmer boxes with have no lid or a lid that children can easily remove.
  • Avoid using spas or swimming pools that have a bottom drain outlet—if these are blocked or damaged they can create significant pressure that can trap and pin a person under water and cause drowning.

How to make sure your skimmer box is safe:

  • If you suspect that you have an unsafe skimmer you should immediately stop using the pool or spa and replace the skimmer box, outlet, filters or covers with models that do comply with the Australian Standards.
  • Fit a low-cost conversion kit, available from swimming pool suppliers.
  • In the interim, place a bar or other fitting (Safety skirt) across the opening of the skimmer box to prevent children from sitting in the box or permanently fix the cover over the skimmer box so it can only be removed using a tool.
  • If you are in a rental property it is advised that you make contact with the property owner / real-estate agent.

If you have any doubt about a skimmer box contact the Product Safety Unit in Consumer and Business Services on 131 882, visit or contact a local pool shop for expert advice

Further Information:

DISCLAIMER:  While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that this document is correct at the time of publication, the Roxby Council, its agencies and employees, disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of anything or the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done in reliance upon the whole or any part of this document. The information and advice published or made available through Roxby Council is provided for your general information only. It is not to be considered as advice and is not a substitute for AS1926.3 - 2010. Every swimming pool or spa installation is different and pool and spa builders, service technicians and other professionals should seek independent expert advice in relation to a particular pool or spa installation. Whilst the information within this document has been prepared and presented with all due care, Roxby Council does not warrant or represent that the information is free from errors or omission. The information contained in the document is provided for informational, educational and learning purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.