High Dives And High Fences – 3 Ways To Make Your Pool Safe For The Kids

Having a swimming pool in the backyard is a great way to provide family fun for many years. But it comes with some danger for families with children around. The USA Swimming Foundation reports that during the summer of 2014 alone, 174 children drowned in backyard swimming pools or spas. How can you make your pool or spa safer for your kids and their friends? Here are 3 ways.

Fence It In

Many states and municipalities now require a fence around the pool, but the standards are not the same everywhere. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a fence with vertical slats no more than 4 inches apart and a total height of at least 4 feet (more is better!). Wood, vinyl or metal bar fences can easily qualify for these minimums, but a solid fence might be an even better choice. If you're concerned with aesthetics, many pool owners are opting for glass fences that are unobtrusive but protect with a solid wall of safety. Make sure the gate is alarmed, self-latching, self-closing, and swings out away from the pool (this is so a child pushing on an open gate will only manage to push it closed).

Cover It Up

Pool covers are generally not mandatory, but they can be an excellent way to ensure safety around the pool year-round. You can find pool and spa covers -- large canvas or hard tops that can be laid out on top of the water -- in automated and manual styles for both in-ground and above-ground pools, depending on your budget and needs. A pool cover also helps keep the pool cleaner during the off-season and guards against unwanted critters. Whatever type of cover you choose, make sure it fights snugly around the sides of the pool and is properly sized to prevent children or pets from climbing underneath. 

Add an Alarm

Alarms for pool areas come in three types: perimeter alarms, pressure alarms, and personal alarms. Here's how you use them. 

Perimeter alarms are set up around the pool area (usually at the fence) and are set off when something passes through the line. They consist of lasers placed to create an invisible fence grid and can be set to detect both children and animals of various sizes. 

Pressure alarms have a sensor that sits on the edge of the pool with a tube that enters the water. The pressure sensor detects when something has fallen into the water and sounds an alarm. The weight of the object being detected can vary, but is usually consistent with the size of a small toddler.  

Personal alarms can be placed on the wrist of a child and detect when they are immersed in water. This alarm is not passive, so it requires you to be involved. It's also great for use when the child is around other water sources such as neighbors' pools, public pools, or lakes and beaches. 

By creating a safety net around your pool, you can make sure your pool or spa is only a source of good times -- and never a source of tragedy. For assistance setting up the fence around your pool, talk to a professional like Gatlin Fence Company.


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