Going Beyond Backyard Aesthetics: Keeping Residential Pools Safe for Children

A well-kept pool is a great feature of any home. It offers an easy way to stay cool during the hot summer and to spend delightful afternoons relaxing with your family. However, while pools are a great addition to any property, they also pose safety hazards for younger members of the household.

According to Pool Safely, around 74 per cent of drowning deaths involving children younger than 15 years old occur at residential pools. Private homes rarely have lifeguards and children can easily slip into the pool unnoticed when there are no adults attending them.

Whether you have an above-ground, in-ground or a portable pool at your home, it is vital that you install layers of protection between the body of water and the house. Layers of protection include non-climbable fences, alarms on doors leading from the house to the pool area, and durable pool covers to keep the younger ones away from danger.

Enhancing Pool Safety

  1. Door alarms - Doors leading from the house to the pool can be installed with alarms that produce audible sounds when a door unexpectedly opens. The alarms should be distinct from the other sounds of the house such as the doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm. There are battery and electrically-powered alarms available which are affordable and easy to install. These alarms have deactivation switches and automatic reset features that allow adults to pass through the doors for up 15 to seconds without setting off the alarm. For extra caution, make sure that the deactivation switch is located at a height that children cannot reach.
  2. Pool Fence - A pool fence is not child-proof but it does provide a layer of protection when there are no adults present to supervise. A young child may easily climb over a pool barrier if it's too low, which is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that the fences should be at least four feet high. The rates of installing a pool fence depend on multiple factors such as the size of the pool, the type of material and the location. However, the cost of purchasing and installing a fence for your pool is nothing compared to the price of losing a life. There are also DIY pool fences available in the market that offer the same protection at lower costs.
  3. Pool covers – These are the last line of defense. Pool covers inhibit children from gaining access to the pool, helping you avoid worst-case scenarios when they are left unattended.
Pool covers are able to hold heavy objects safely, as they are often made from woven mesh material or solid vinyl. There are also motor-powered barriers called power safety covers that easily open and close over pools. When the power safety covers are properly in place, they provide a high level of protection.

Rules for Pools

Aside from pool barriers, it is essential for parents to take certain precautionary measures. For instance, instructing babysitters about the potential pool hazards and the use of the pool protective devices. Adults should also never leave children unsupervised near bodies of water.

During social gatherings, appoint a designated watcher to oversee the kids who are enjoying the pool. Never allow a young child into the pool without an adult, even if they have had swimming lessons or they're wearing floatation devices.

Every year, thousands of American families suffer from swimming pool tragedies. However, the majority of these deaths and injuries are preventable with the help of alarms, fences, pool covers and precautionary practices. The barriers are not entirely child-proof, but they provide layers of protection for children when there are lapses in adult supervision.

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