Installing "Layers Of Protection" For Your New Pool

Swimming can be an enjoyable activity for the whole family. However, if you planning for a new swimming pool installation at your house, it is important to build in safety features.  Technology has evolved over the years, and there are many precautions you can now take in order to make sure that your children are safe in your pool.  It is important to have multiple barriers that will keep small kids out of the pool when an adult is not there to supervise.  This is sometimes called having "layers of protection." 

There is no such thing as being too safe around water.

Parents sometimes think that if they teach their young children to swim they will be safe in the pool.  It is extremely beneficial for children to know how to swim, but that may not save them in the event of a drowning.  A small child will likely not have the strength to pull themselves out of the pool if they are struggling and no one else is around. 

It doesn't take long for a child to drown.  Many drownings happen when one or both parents are supervising.  They recall seeing the child shortly before it happened, either in the house or in the yard.  By providing multiple layers of protection to keep children away from the pool, you are potentially saving a life.

Layers of Protection

  • Fencing When you are planning your pool, plan to have fencing surrounding the pool on all four sides.  The fencing should be a minimum of 4 feet tall and should not give any footholds or handholds that a child could use to climb over it.  They should also not be able to slide between any bars or railings. 
  • Gates Gates leading to and from the pool should be self-closing and self-latching, and the latches should be out of the reach of children.  They should also open to the outside, not the inside of the pool.
  • Rigid Pool Cover Do not use a tarp to cover the pool.  In the "old days" tarps were perfectly acceptable, but children (or adults) can fall on the tarp and become tangled while sinking into the water.  If you are installing a pool, do your research and consider a rigid pool cover that will not sink with weight.
  • Alarms  There are a variety of alarms you can get to protect your children from the pool. 
    • Door Alarm  If you are unable to fence the pool off from the house, you need to have a door alarm on any doors leading from the house to the pool area.  These alarms should go off any time the door opens and should be long, loud, and unique from any other kind of alarm or tone at your house.  A door alarm will have a button for adults to deactivate the alarm for a short period when they are going out the door.  This button or switch should be over 54 inches so that children cannot reach it. 
    • Pool Alarm  Consider installing an alarm that detects movement under the water in the pool. 
    • Watch Alarm  There are alarms that children can wear that look similar to a watch.  These alarms can go off when the wrist gets wet or when the "watch" is submerged under water.  However, due to the sensitive nature of these alarms, they are not as reliable as other alarms.
  • Hire a Lifeguard  If you are going to have a party in your pool that will involve multiple children, it can be very hard to monitor everyone.  Consider hiring a lifeguard if you are going to entertain a larger amount of people in your pool.

Installing a pool in your backyard can be a great treat for your family.  You can create many memories around your pool.  Be sure the memories you create are positive memories by also installing layers of protection to keep your pool safe.