Swimming Pool Safety Solutions

Investing in several safety products around your pool will add layers of protection and keep your family safe. 

By Kimberlee Courtney

child swimming pool safety, childrenAlong with providing homeowners hours of fun and relaxation with their family and friends, swimming pools also bring a degree of responsibility to keep swimmers out of harm’s way. While there is nothing more effective than constant adult supervision, the reality of supervising your pool 24/7 is highly unlikely. For this reason, it is essential to have several layers of protection in place. The range of devices and equipment on the market makes it easy for pool owners to create their own multi-layered approach to safety.

Swimming Pool Fences

Fences greatly enhance the security of a pool because they prevent unsupervised access, helping to keep children and pets safe. They are constructed from several different materials—including aluminum, wrought iron, mesh, and vinyl—and can be either permanent or removable. 

Removable pool fences are made from a tight mesh netting that is affixed to a series of fiberglass or aluminum support poles that are drilled into the pool deck. The mesh material that is stretched across the poles creates tension, which keeps the fence in place. Even though they’re not permanent structures, these fences are durable and hard to climb over. Plus, they can be easily removed when the pool is closed for the season. 

Permanent pool fences are constructed from vinyl, wrought iron, aluminum, or wood. These sturdy materials provide protection year-round and can also offer a decorative appearance. Many U.S. cities and towns require pools to be fenced in; check local laws to find out the specific requirements in your area. 

Whether you decide on a removable or permanent swimming pool fence, it is important that you choose an appropriate height when having your fence installed. The CPSC (Consumer Product and Safety Commission) recommends that swimming pool fences be at least 48 inches high and have openings no wider than 4 inches. Fences should also have very few horizontal bars and should not have any space for children or pets to climb under. Chain link fences are not recommended because they can be easily climbed.

Even if you already have a permanent fence around your yard, you may choose to install a second fence around the pool alone. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that a four-sided isolation fence with a self-closing, self-latching, child-resistant gate is the only safety fence shown to be effective. 

Swimming Pool Alarms

Perimeter alarm systems can be used in conjunction with a safety fence. Gate alarms, which are mounted to the fence gate with two magnetic switches, are activated when the gate is opened and the electrical field is broken. Similarly, infrared alarms use both motion and heat-sensitive sensors to form an “invisible fence” around the pool. When a small child or animal crosses the beam or emits body heat, an alarm is sounded by the pool, as well as in the house. 

In-pool alarms are another option and can either float on top of the water or be submerged. Floating pool alarms read the subsequent surface waves caused from a child or pet falling into the pool. Submerged pool alarms are mounted to the edge of the pool and have sensors that go down into the water. This type of pool alarm detects water displacement and underwater waves.

There are also personal alarms, which attach to a child’s wrist and sound an alarm when submerged underwater. Because the wristband is a key-locked device, it cannot fall off or be removed by the child. These alarms can also be fastened to the collar of a pet, and multiple wristbands can be connected to a single base station inside the house. 

Swimming Pool Cov­ers 

While pool covers offer protection from dirt and debris, they can also provide an element of safety for children. They not only prevent access to the water, but can withstand great amounts of weight. However, not every pool cover is a safety cover; in order to qualify as a safety cover it must meet specific standards by the ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) and be able to support 485 pounds within a 3-foot diameter. 

Manual safety pool covers are typically used when closing the pool for the season. They are anchored to the deck of the pool by straps that keep the cover firm over the water area. Flat vinyl pool covers have an automatic pump to drain rainwater off the surface to prevent a drowning hazard. Other manual safety pool covers are tapered to prevent water from accumulating in the center, and those made of nylon mesh material allow water to drain through the cover. 

Automatic safety pool covers fit into a track on the sides of the pool and are opened and closed with the flick of a switch. The convenience of an automatic pool cover makes it easy to use on a regular basis so you can cover the pool after every swim.

To view product photos and get detailed information on pool safety products, visit our Pool Safety Buyers' Guide.

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