A single glance at the numbers is enough to have you scratching your head trying to figure out ways to keep your kids safe around the swimming pool.
Each year, about 800 children drown in home swimming pools in the US alone, most of them as young as five years and below.
So it all makes sense now, doesn’t it? If you have young kids and a swimming pool in the compound, then you can’t afford to take chances.
This is where most homeowners find themselves smack bang in the midst of a tough decision between family and fun. Things can get a bit complicated here as kids tend to be curious about virtually everything around them, and the pool seems to be just the perfect place to quench their curiosity.
But a pool and a child is the worst combination possible, and one that could lead to every parent’s worst nightmare.
Not to worry, luckily enough, you can keep both your pool and the safety of your kid. All it takes is a few measures to make sure your child is not at risk of drowning.
To make it easier for you to figure out what to do, we did the digging so you won’t have to, and we put together a few important and practical ideas that you can put in place for your kid’s safety and your own peace of mind.
So without much ado, let’s dive right in!
A pool alarm
If you are always adding security measures to your home, then chances are, you already have some alarms in place. Well, pool alarms work in pretty much the same way.
In essence, these alarms notify you of any unauthorized access to the pool, whether it’s your kid or any other person.
you can easily install such an alarm on the pool gate, and it will alert you whenever someone opens the door.
But this is not the only type of alarm that you can set up on your pool.
Another type of alarm that could prove handy is a wave alarm, which you can fix at the edge of the pool or on one corner. This alarm goes off is there is any disturbance in the water, causing it to ripple across the pool.
Here’s a tip!
Make sure that your pool alarm’s sound is different from the other alarms in the house so you can identify it once it goes off.
Also, make sure it is loud enough, it will trigger off in seconds once activated, and will sound for long enough, preferably 20 to 30 seconds at least.
Installing a net or pool cover
Another reliable option at your disposal is installing a safety pool cover. This is a straightforward one, as it simply supports the weight of any individual who wanders off to the surface of the pool water, thus keeping them from drowning.
The good thing about these nets is that they are very tough if you get a quality one, and they tend to be very secure, enough to support the weight of up to two adults.
These covers feature different materials, and are secured to the ground with solid clips that hold them in place, but are easy to remove whenever you need to use the pool.
To make the job easier, some are even motorized, so they are automatic, making them easy and fast to open or close.
You can only operate some pool covers manually, so you can go for the one that works best for you.
Are floaties enough?
Well, yes they are, when you are in the pool with your kid. However, this option is not completely reliable as far as the safety of your kid goes.
And it’s best to count on an approved life vest instead, as this could offer more safety for your little angel.
Even so, make sure to stay close to your kid when in the pool, and never trust any of these swimming aids to allow your kid to be in the pool alone.
Swimming classes for kids could help
Another great option at your disposal when it comes to keeping your kids safe is allowing them to take swimming classes, as long as they are of the right age.
While it might sound like a far-fetched idea, in some jurisdictions, it’s allowed to let kids take swimming classes even when they are as young as 1 year old.
Also, it’s worth making sure you understand any signs that a kid would show when drowning. Speaking of which, never be fooled to believe that drowning is a noisy business; sometimes it could happen without you noticing even when you are only a couple of feet away, which brings us to the next point.
Get a pool alarm child kit
The other option that you can go for is a simple, yet efficient alarm child kit that features a little “turtle” wristband with a base alarm that you can install inside the house or outside.
However, it’s worth mentioning that the base is not weatherproof, so be careful where you install it when it comes to installing it outside the house.
The good thing about such a child kit alarm is that most of them are loud enough so hearing it shouldn’t be a problem.
The other great thing about these wrist bands is that they need a special key if you want to remove it, which might sound like a deal-breaker, but it’s great as the kid can’t remove it herself.
Not forgetting, it’s also very sensitive so you can count on it to alert you the moment your kid trips into the water, as the alarm is activated as soon as the wrist becomes wet.
The only downside is that when washing her, it will definitely go off, but the annoyance should be a small price to pay as long as your kid is safe from drowning.
Stick to the “touch-close” rule…
Let’s face it! Letting kids out of your sight for long is a downright bad idea.
And this is not just for pool safety, but letting your child out of your sight for long periods could put him in serious risk of injury, abduction, or even fatality if things really go terribly wrong.
Even with great swimming skills, you should ensure your child is never out of sight, especially if you haven’t secured your pool yet.
Here’s the thing, when in the swimming pool with your kids, you should ensure that they are always close enough such that you can reach out and help, which is where the “touch-close” concept comes in.
After all, it’s best to play safe always, as a few seconds could mean the difference between life and death.
Remember, it takes a minute or two for a child to drown.
Proper storage of chemicals and pool cleaning products
If you have a pool, one way of keeping it in top shape is by cleaning it, which requires the use of chemicals and such cleaning products as chlorine.
And while these products help keep your pool safe and clean and the water crystal clear, they can be a hazard for the kids.
One thing about children is that sensors in their mouth develop earlier than their hands do, so it’s not uncommon to see kids throw just about anything they come across into their mouths. They are just trying to figure out what the object could be.
Unfortunately, chemicals and some of these products could spell disaster for your kid’s health, and some could actually prove to be deadly.
And the best you can do to ensure the safety of your kid is to keep such products locked in a secure place, and well out of their reach when using the products on your pool.
While still at it, it’s worth mentioning that you should never keep these products exposed to direct sunlight if you want them to get the job done during later uses, so keep that in mind as well.
But that’s a story for another day.
Keep rescue gear within reach
Well, this is the situation that every parent dreads the most, but it’s best to be prepared for anything anyway.
As such, it’s advisable to invest in some rescue gear just in case you happen to need them at any point.
A shepherd hook, a life preserver and such tools should always be handy.
And, of course, keep your phone close when heading out to the pool in case you might need to dial for help.
Just the right fence could make a world of difference
By this, we mean a physical obstacle that can keep kids out of the pool area for their safety. This could be a fence with a gate at the entry point.
The good thing about getting a fence is that you can actually get one that’s also removable, so again, the choice is all yours.
Make sure that your pool fence is secure enough that kids can’t get through, under, or over to access the pool. It’s thus crucial that you ensure that the fence stands at about 4 feet high.
Virtually the same height as a home security fence, although a home security one should be higher for obvious reasons.
Besides the height, the other thing you need to keep an eye on when choosing any pool fence is the material; it should be capable of standing the rough outdoors and holding up for years.
Also, the ground clearance that it leaves is worth considering, as this could make it easy for pets to get to the pool. Anything above 4 inches off the ground is too much a clearance for your fence, the idea is to keep it as low as possible.
Another great benefit of having a pool fence is that it also helps keep pets out of the pool if you have any.
Above all, the way a fence lock is the one thing you really need to be keen on, especially it should have a gate that can open outwards. Besides, consider one with a self-latching design to make it more secure just in case someone forgets to close it.
What features should a good pool fence have?
All said and done, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when making the choice for the fence that you want to install around your pool.
- Ease of use
Besides the safety aspect, the ease of use is the other thing that you definitely don’t want to get wrong when shopping for a fence.
As such, it pays to get a fence that is easy to set up and every bit as easy to remove (if it’s not a permanent one). What’s more, it should also be easy to roll up and store when not in use.
- Is it customized for your needs?
Another important thing to consider here is whether the fence is designed to suit your needs. This could boil to such factors as the color of the fence as well as the style.
Also, it should conform to the pool shape, changes in elevation on the area around the pool as well as unique formations and other features that might stand in the way.
Remember what we talked about as far as self-closing and self-locking pool fence gates go? Well, you also need to keep that in mind too.
- How safe and strong does it get?
Again, this comes down to the materials of the fence, but that’s not all there is to it, as the construction also counts. Thus, make sure to get a solidly built fence, as having a fence made of robust materials but with a flimsy construction won’t make much of a difference.
What are some of the best pool fence materials out there?
You could bet this one was coming, right?
Well, it’s clear as we’ve mentioned above that the material of the fence is by far one of the things you really need to keep an eye out for if you are to get the value for your money.
Thankfully, there’s a wide array of options out there to choose from, but here are some of the toughest.
Chain link might be an uncommon material when it comes to pool fencing, but that’s not to say that this type of pool fence material isn’t out there.
What makes a chain-link worth a hard look is that it can take quite a beating from the weather through the seasons. So if you want a lasting fence, then this one’s for you.
But wait, there’s a catch!
The problem with this option is that it is easy for kids to climb thanks to its diamond-shaped holes, so if your kid has reached a stage where they love climbing up stuff, then this fence is not a good choice for you.
Wrought iron is yet another tough fence material that also works for fencing homes, as it is a robust choice that can withstand the rough outdoor environment for years.
So, what’s the catch?
Well, the problem with this type of fence material is that it requires high maintenance as it tends to rust very easily.
Besides, it also makes it easier for kids to climb up the fence due to its design, which not only makes it easy for them to access the pool but also poses a risk of falling off from up the fence.
A glass fence is a great option if you want something that can add a bit of aesthetic to your pool. It’s also fantastic as kids have no way of climbing up the fence, and it won’t rust.
But that’s not to say this material doesn’t come with its fair share of shortcomings, as it is very expensive. Also, it can’t be removed, so the flexibility is very limited, not to mention that it also proves to be difficult to clean.
Vinyl and wood fence could be just the type of fence material to go for if you don’t like the other options that we’ve discussed.
It is difficult for kids to climb over, and completely blocks the view of the pool, so they won’t see any tempting stuff that might increase their desire to get in there.
But, this one too comes with its downsides, as it might not be the ideal option if you would rather have a fence that allows a clear view of the pool, which could make the world of difference if the kid(s) happen to have wandered inside the fence and into the pool without anyone noticing.
Want to go the DIY way and save some money? Well, then this video should help you understand how to go about that.
Well, as it turns out, keeping kids safe around the pool is no easy feat. But as risky as it can get, there are still a lot of ways that you can ensure that your kid is not in danger of drowning.
Pools are meant to be a source of fun and good times and not a reason to lose your kid. So go ahead and take the right steps to ensure your kids are safe, but without giving up on your pool of course.
Here’s the takeaway, just one measure won’t be enough, so it’s best to have at least three if not more of these measures in place to achieve the peace of mind you need.
Go out there, grab the right tools and get to work.