Owning a swimming pool can provide many hours of fun and enjoyment for family and friends. One of the most important concerns that people have in regards to owning a swimming pool is safety. I have my own inground swimming pool and I know firsthand how to create layers of protection to make your pool safer, so that you do not have to worry about a tragedy of drowning occurring in your own backyard swimming pool.
Every swimming pool should have certain barriers that children would need to pass through in order to enter the swimming pool. The idea is to restrict access or alert of an access, with redundant, overlapping layers of safety. Let’s start inside the house; every door entering the backyard or pool area should have a door alarm. If someone exits the door and does not push the pass through button a very loud alarm will go off that everyone inside and outside the house can hear.
Some states also require door and window alarms that lead to the pool area, so check with your local inspector to find what code is in your particular area. Another recommended safety device would be a gate alarm for your backyard gate, and if the pool is fenced in separately also a gate alarm for the gate entering the pool area. This will prevent anyone from entering the pool area without adult supervision - another layer of protection.
Another layer of protection that I recommend is a pool alarm; just in case your gate alarm fails, the pool alarm would let you know if a child or animal fell into the swimming pool. The way a pool alarm works is if someone 18lbs or greater breaks the plane of the water, a very loud alarm sounds, at the pool and inside the house.
Besides a poolside pool alarm, I also recommend our Safety Turtle pool alarm. If your children or pet submerges the turtle wrist band in water, it sounds off a very loud alarm. This is another powerful layer of protection, perhaps the final layer in concentric rings of safety, worn on the child.
The best way to create a safe pool environment for your family and friends is by utilizing several layers of protection. There are many safety products as mentioned above as well as household procedures that will help prevent poolside emergencies or accidental drownings.
Some Sobering Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1- 4 years old. Most drownings occur in residential swimming pools.
Children between the ages of 1-3 represent 66% of injuries from 2009- 2011 and approximately 58% of the fatalities (annual average of 226) occurred in inground swimming pools according to the CPSC.
Each day in the U.S. approximately 9 people drown.
Participation in swimming lessons for young children can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1-4 years old.
Four sided fencing isolates the pool from the house and the yard which has shown to reduce the amount of drowning injuries or deaths anywhere from 50 to 90 percent.
Layers of Protection
The concept of layers of protection for a swimming pool is to make your swimming pool as safe as possible and prevent anyone from getting injured or drowning in your swimming pool. Utilizing Layers of Protection in your backyard swimming pool will provide a safe environment for your family and friends. It starts with parents educating their children about pool safety and also establishing rules for the swimming pool area.
Here are some sample layers of protection:
Pool Safety Complacency
As the children get older most pool owners become less worried about their children getting injured or drowning. When I built my pool 9 years ago my daughter was 2 and my son was just a baby, so my pool was like Fort Knox - almost impossible for someone to get into the pool area without an adult.
Now that my kids are older we are planning on taking down a section of our 4-sided vinyl fence so that we can have a larger area to entertain on the pool patio. In place of the vinyl fence section, I plan on getting two lengths of mesh safety fence which is easy to install and remove. This will prevent any children from the neighborhood or any animals from falling into my swimming pool.
Just because your kids might be older and you do not have to worry about them as much, you still must provide safety equipment and barriers to prevent any accidental injuries or drownings from the neighbor’s kids, or visiting children while entertaining.
As kids get older, their stunts and games become more daring, and all it takes is a good knock on the head to become unconscious, and a few seconds for them to slip out of sight. Even though your kids are good swimmers - Adult Supervision is always important, and is the Most Important Layer of Protection.
SPP Pool Expert