Owning a swimming pool is a great thing – you can relax by it, stay cool and even get a bit of exercise now and again. It’s also a source of danger to children and pets, though, with as many as 10 people drowning every day in the US. With ownership comes responsibility, so here’s how you make your pool safer for everyone who uses it.
Install a safety cover
During the winter months, these covers keep debris and small animals out, they also keep small children out. It’s easy to forget the pool is there when you’re not using it a lot, and darker evenings may mean you don’t spot children running outside so easily. A strong pool cover can’t be pulled off without help and it’s sturdy enough for children to walk on (although they shouldn’t!).
Install a fence
If you’re building a new pool, whether in-ground or above-ground, you’re legally required to have a fence. Older pools may not have one, or it may not be high enough, so this is something you can improve on straight away! The Consumer Product and Safety Commission recommends a fence that’s at least 48” high and has a self-closing and latching mechanism, as well as a child-resistant gate. The gate and fence are good places to hang outdoor custom signs warning children and adults of the potential dangers.
Use pool alarms
There’s four different types of pool alarms – perimeter alarms, pressure-sensitive, gate alarms and wearable ones.
You set up the alarms at strategic points around the pool to make a laser field; when this field is broken or penetrated by a pet or a child, the alarm goes off.
Pressure sensitive alarms
This alarm is fixed on the pool edge and a pressure sensor tube goes into the water. When anything larger than (usually) 18lbs goes into the water, the resulting pressure wave sets the alarm off.
These alarms go off when the gate is opened – they’re also an extra layer of security against intruders.
These alarms need adult supervision as there needs to be an adult nearby to fish the child out of the water. They’re worn around the wrist and sound when the wrist is submerged in water.
Pool safety equipment
Hopefully you’ll never have to use these, but you’ll be very glad of them if you do!
A life-ring with a rope
These are a familiar sight at public pools and beaches and they’re not there for decoration. Made from hard foam or hollow plastic, you can throw them at a drowning or struggling swimmer and they can cling to them to stay afloat while you use the rope to pull them in.
A shepherd’s hook
Another familiar sight at public pools, this long pole, with a metal loop on the end, is an invaluable aid when it comes to pulling people out of the water. They’re pretty cheap and also come in handy for fishing out inflatables when you don’t want to get wet yourself.
Install responsible adults around the pool
You all need to monitor the pool when you’re out there having fun – it only takes a few seconds for a child to go under and so everyone need to look out for each other. All the other measures are back-ups, not substitutes, for good practice and vigilance.