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Q+A: What to Look for in a Safety Pool Cover

Safety Pool Covers: Types, Materials, and Installation








Loop-Loc Mesh Safety Pool Cover

The month of May marks the start of pool season for many homeowners across the country. It also marks National Water Safety Month, a joint effort by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), the American Red Cross, the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) and the World Waterpark Association (WWA) to educate the public on safe water practices in all types of swimming environments.

In honor of National Water Safety Month, we spoke with LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta, President and CEO of Loop-Loc, Ltd., to learn what to look for in a safety pool cover to ensure ultimate protection.

PoolSpaOutdoor.com: How long have you been working in the pool industry and how did you get started?

LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta, Loop-Loc, Ltd.: I’ve been working in the swimming pool industry for 20 years. My father, Bill Donaton, was the co-inventor of the safety swimming pool cover and started Loop-Loc in 1978 with five employees. He was instrumental in bringing safety to the forefront for consumers and dedicated his entire career to making the highest quality safety cover on the market. In 1993 my father asked me to join the Loop-Loc team, and I have been proudly serving as President and C.E.O. since 2001.


PSO: What makes a pool cover a safety cover?

LDP: There is a big difference between a standard pool cover and a safety pool cover. A typical solid vinyl pool cover is little more than a tarp to put over your pool—it does not prevent children or pets from gaining access to the pool. For a pool cover to be a safety cover, it must conform to the Standard Performance Specification [F1346 – 91] set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). According to the ASTM, a safety cover must be able to support 485 pounds, not permit gaps that a child or pet could squeeze through, and remove standing water.


PSO: What types of safety covers are available?

LDP: Safety covers are available in mesh material and in solid material. It is important to note that different manufacturers use different grades and types of mesh and solid material in their manufacturing. LOOP-LOC utilizes a superior super dense mesh fabric which allows water to drain through while blocking virtually all sunlight. Our mesh fabric also has 87 percent black yarns for better U.V. stability. Our exclusive solid material is proprietary to Loop-Loc and is made of 100 percent polypropylene solid material; this fabric allows for ease of use, is recyclable, and ultra-sturdy. Other types of solid covers available in the market are manufactured using a vinyl type fabric which tends to stretch out and become brittle over time.


See photos and learn more about Loop-Loc safety swimming pool covers >>


PSO: What should pool owners consider when deciding between a mesh cover and a solid cover?

LDP: Mesh covers do have one safety advantage: they do not permit water to collect. In order to meet safety cover performance standards, solid covers must provide for the elimination of standing water.

Solid safety covers are usually available in two versions: one with mesh panels that allow water to drain through, and an all-solid version that should always be sold with an automatic cover pump. The pump must be used at all times in order to maintain the safety of the cover and meet the ASTM standards. Ultimately, though, the choice between a mesh or solid safety cover is up to the preference of the user.


PSO: There are a variety of pool safety covers on the market. How can a homeowner be sure they’re buying a quality safety cover?

LDP: The safety of the cover entirely depends on the quality of its manufacturing and materials, which include the threading on the cover as well as the straps and springs. At Loop-Loc, we live by and are motivated by the banners my dad hung in the building the day Loop-Loc opened, which read, “The quality of the cover you make today can save a life tomorrow.”

We pride ourselves on using some of the highest quality materials available to ensure safe, long-lasting covers. We use double perimeter webbing and double-thick straps, along with extremely high-strength 302/304 stainless steel springs.

Loop-Loc also uses a multi-passed white bonded polyester sewing thread that is 30 percent stronger than what is typically used throughout the industry. This thread produces a higher margin of safety in all seams and ensures durability. As we hand inspect ever pool cover, the contrasting white thread also allows our inspectors to instantly see if a single stitch was missed in the manufacturing process.

It’s also important that safety cover manufacturers not only meet the ASTM standard F1346-91 for manual safety covers, but also follow up with the outside testing agencies that perform all of the actual tests listed in the ASTM guideline, such as Underwriters Laboratories (known as U.L.).

At Loop-Loc, we are so proud of the safe, high-quality cover that we manufacture that we went the extra step to confirm that we not only meet, but also exceed the guidelines set forth for safety swimming pool covers, earning Loop-Loc the U.L. seal of approval.

Safety pool covers must be measured to exact specifications to ensure proper fitPSO: What are the installation requirements for safety pool covers?

LDP: Safety covers must be measured to exact specifications in order to ensure proper fit. Rectangular pools are usually measured by overall width and length, while formfit [freeform] pools and pools with raised wall areas and special treatments need to be AB measured, which is a form of triangulation.

Swimming pool professionals are trained to take exact measurements of your swimming pool to ensure that the cover you receive meets all of the ASTM safety standards. For example, you would never put a rectangle safety cover over a formfit type swimming pool. This scenario would create too much material lying directly on the deck around the swimming pool which can cause excess and extreme wear over a matter of months. A rectangle cover over a formfit pool will also not get the proper tensioning required to maintain safety standards.

Once the pool is measured properly, the second most important requirement for safety covers is the actual installation of the cover. Swimming pool professionals are trained as to how far back and between the anchors must be placed in order to ensure proper tensioning.

PSO: How can a pool owner tell if their safety cover is properly installed?

LDP: When a cover is installed properly it should lie flat across the swimming pool, like a trampoline. It is important for the safety cover to have proper overlap, which is the distance the cover extends past the swimming pool coping and onto the deck. The general rule for overlap is 12 inches to 15 inches, but that can vary on larger or commercial type swimming pools. Too little overlap will not give the cover the proper stability, and excessive overlap can cause premature wear. Also, when a cover is reinstalled after the summer it is important to remember to re-adjust all springs so that there is proper tensioning during the winter months.

PSO: Are there any steps or precautions homeowners should take to ensure the quality and longevity of their safety cover?

LDP: It’s important to do a lot of research. Not all safety covers are the same, and the safety of the cover entirely depends on the quality of its materials and manufacturing. It is also important to remember that proper tensioning of the cover, along with keeping your water levels at the manufacturer’s recommended level at all times will ensure a longer lasting cover. When storing the cover in the summer, be sure to use the storage bag provided and to hang it high up and off of the ground, in a shed or other storage area. (Leaving the cover on the ground can allow for small rodents to crawl inside the cover and start eating away at the material of the cover.)

PSO: How long should a safety pool cover last?

LDP: In general, a safety cover will last an average of 10 to 15 years.

View more photos and watch videos of Loop-Loc safety covers >>

Click here for more Swimming Pool Safety Tips >>

Photos courtesy of Loop-Loc, Ltd.


About the Expert: LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta has held management positions at LOOP-LOC, Ltd., since 1993 and has proudly served as president/CEO since 2001. Over this time, she has continued her company’s leadership in pool safety, overseeing major product line expansions, including Loop-Loc Luxury in-ground liners, and the introduction of new, patented technology. Under her leadership, LOOP-LOC has sold safety pool covers on every continent except Antarctica.Today Loop-Loc has close to 300 employees who are dedicated to manufacturing the highest quality safety swimming pool covers and in-ground luxury liners. All of Loop-Loc's products are made in the U.S.A. at the company's headquarters in Hauppauge, New York.




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Swimming Pool Safety Tips

While swimming pool safety products offer a source of protection, it’s important that all parents and pool owners follow some basic precautions.

Safety pool fence Loop Loc kids protect
Set the rules. Talk to your children about basic swimming pool rules, including no running and never entering the pool without an adult. Place a “Pool Rules” sign on the fence as a visual reminder. 

Create non-slip surfaces. Apply a non-slip safety coating to the pool ladder and steps (and diving board, if your pool has one). Make sure walkways and decks are slip-resistant.

Keep chemicals locked up. Make sure all swimming pool chemicals are sealed tightly and stored in a locked area that children cannot access.

Learn CPR. The American Red Cross encourages at least one member of every family to learn first aid and CPR. It is a good idea for babysitters, relatives, and others who care for your children to know these skills as well. Local Red Cross chapters offer courses that can have you trained and certified in CPR in just a few hours. 

Sign kids up for swimming lessons. Along with constant adult supervision, teaching kids to swim helps to prevent childhood drowning. Swim classes are available through local community pools, private swim instructors, and the YMCA. 

Have an emergency plan. Whenever anyone is in or around the pool, keep a phone nearby. Post emergency numbers and information by the pool, including your address and directions to your home, so that anyone calling 911 can easily read it off to an emergency dispatcher.


In addition to these tips, be sure to add layers of protection around your pool including swimming pool safety covers, fences, and alarms. Note that there is no substitute for constant adult supervision. Children should always be under the close supervision of a responsible adult when they are in or around a swimming pool.





Photo courtesy of LOOP-LOC, Ltd.



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Loop-Loc Introduces New Safety Pool Enclosure – Idealcover

Idealcover Safety Swimming Pool Enclosure

LOOP-LOC, manufacturer of safety swimming pool covers, pool liners, and removable pool fencing, is proud to introduce Idealcover Enclosures to the U.S. marketplace. These beautiful pool enclosures are designed to provide an elegant look and maximum comfort while prolonging the swim season.

A leader in the European market, The Idealcover Enclosure offers homeowners all the benefits of a traditional swimming pool enclosure, including reduced evaporation and heat loss, reduced chemical usage, and lower maintenance costs, as well as the security of a safety cover.  The panels on the enclosure contain self-locking pins that must be manually lifted on either side of the enclosure before sliding the panels back. The enclosure’s doors can also be locked using a safety lock with a key.

Six standard models are available and range in design from low-profile structures that lie 2 ½ feet above the surface of the pool to taller, full-sized enclosures that accommodate movement and use of space under the entire enclosure. All models can be fully customized to fit exact specifications. In addition, a selection of decorative exterior finishes can be applied to the enclosure’s profiles and barrel segments to perfectly blend with any backyard and landscape.

For a full-color catalog and additional information on Idealcover Enclosures, email maryellen@looploc.com, or call 800-562-5667.






Photo courtesy of LOOP-LOC, LTD.

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Aqua Alert: Keep Children Safe by the Pool

Aqua Alert wristband pool alarmAs the well-established annual kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend is also the start of pool season for many regions across the U.S. Pool owners will be entertaining guests invited over their first dip of the season, while many non-pool owners will happily pack up the kids and head over to their friends’ or neighbors’ houses for a poolside barbecue.


While there is much fun to be had, safety should always be a primary concern when there is a pool nearby. Children, especially young children and non-swimmers, should be supervised at all times. However, pool accidents and near drowning incidents can occur during parties, even when many adults are present because of momentary distractions. In many of these cases, the immersion is silent, and there are no audible screams or splashing.

 

By adding a layer of protection—such as a water-activated alarm device—you can help to prevent accidents and keep your children safe. Aqua Alert is an electronic wristband that emits a loud sound when it gets wet. The wristband is designed to fit toddlers to teens and has a locking attachment making it very difficult for a child to remove. If a child should fall into any body of water, the water triggers an alarm similar to the piercing sound of a smoke detector and can be heard up to 100 feet away. The alarm is deactivated by the drying the wristband off.

 

Aqua Alert wristband pool alarmThe major benefit to this system is that you can take it wherever you go. No installation is required, so its use is not limited to any one location. Whether you are at a public community pool, a neighbor’s house, on vacation, or at home, the Aqua Alert wristband can be worn by your child and used as a safety alert.

 

Note: Aqua Alert’s sole function is as an alarm alert that provides an audible warning to help parents protect their children from a drowning or near drowning accident. Aqua Alert is NOT a flotation device; when any child is near water, parental vigilance and supervision is always required.

 

A portion of Aqua Alert's sales are donated to Justin's Club, a non-profit (501C3) corporation established to help prevent childhood drowning and near-drowning incidents, providing treatment for children whose families cannot afford treatment costs, and for research through non-profit fundraising.

 

To learn more about Justin’s Club, visit www.justinsclub.com.

 

For more information about Aqua Alert and how to order, visit www.aquaalerts.com.


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Safety Turtle Now on Facebook

Safet Turtle wrist alarm mfg. by Terrapin Communications, Inc.Safety Turtle®, manufactured by Terrapin Communications, Inc., is a family of Wireless Alert products designed to enhance security around water, especially swimming pools. To increase awareness about water safety for children, Safety Turtle has launched a social media campaign. You can now visit them on facebook to stay up to date on news from the company and information about water safety.

 

Originally introduced in 1998 as a “last layer of protection” for young children near swimming pools and other bodies of water, the Safety Turtle personal immersion alarm has been adapted for pets, patients doing water physiotherapy, workers near water hazards, and to automatically alert lifeguard rescues. The Safety Turtle wireless gate/door alarm models introduced in 2006 allow homeowners to remotely monitor pool and property fences and door accesses.


Here’s how a Safety Turtle Wireless Alert system works: It consists of one or more Base Station receivers and an unlimited number of radio sensors. The sensors may be of different types--immersion, gate, panic button--but must be the same color to work with the same Base Station. Any sensor type can initiate alarming at the Base Station.


Photo courtesy of Terrapin Communications, Inc.

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