Pool Safety Precautions Part 1

Getting the most out of your pool requires that you take the right steps.  I think that one aspect of owning a pool that often gets overlooked is the safety side of things.  Pool ownership can be a wonderful experience if the proper precautions are taken into consideration.  It seems to me that many people overlook some of the basic steps that one could take toward a safer, fun filled summer.  If you have read my other posts, you will have noticed that a small hand full of them are specifically about how to stay safe around the swimming pool.  This includes everything from the proper chemicals to RWI’s, to steps you can take to ensure that people stay safe while swimming.  It has been a while since I have written about swimming pool safety.  For that reason, today I want to briefly touch on ways to ensure that your pool is safe.

Today, I want to start with the pool area itself.  I think that many people who decide to have an inground pool installed are those with children.  That being said, I think that as a parent they feel that their kids will not be swimming unless they are properly supervised.  Don’t get me wrong, that is a very good way to keep your children safe, but what about those what if scenarios.  You are busy with something, the pool is open, and kids are quick.  I am not trying to scare anyone here.  I just want to make sure people are aware that this is an area in which safety precautions can be made.
There are many entry points to the pool area.  In order to aid in keeping people out of the pool area, many people install a fence around the pool.  In fact, many places require that a fence be installed around the pool.  Regardless of if it is a requirement or not, it is always a good idea.  A fence acts as a barrier between your pool and those that may want to access it.  One thing to keep in mind when it comes to pool fences is gating.  To increase the security of the pool area, it is a good idea to have a gate the will automatically close itself and latch itself.  It should be at least four feet high and latch at the top.  This will make it difficult for little ones to open.  In addition to that the gate should open away from the pool area.  This means that if you are entering the pool area, the gate should open toward you.  It may seem kind of trivial, but in reality if a little one were to try and access the pool area, they would likely have to stand on something to reach the latch.  If the gate were to open toward them, they would soon find out that they are in the way of the gate opening.  Often times a pool is in close proximity to the house so most people will use the house as the forth side.  Basically just fencing in their backyard.  While this will work, the house will likely have entry points to the pool area that are fairly easy for someone inside to access.  For this reason, if you are intending on using the house itself as one of the barriers it is a good idea to install some kind of alarm system on the doors and windows leading to the pool area.  This would allow you to know if a door or window is being opened on the pool side of the house.  This is likely not a requirement, however it is a very good idea, especially if you have young ones in the house.
In addition to the fence, another very popular addition to a pool to increase safety is an automatic cover.  This will allow you to close the pool while it is not in use.  This, coupled with a fence would provide two barriers for someone to get by if they wanted to access the pool.  A nice feature of an automatic cover is that they usually require either a key, or a code to operate.  If you keep the key in a safe place and out of reach from small hands then you will increase the security of your pool.
There is another small, yet important thing that you can do to make your pool area a safer place.  If you have children and a pool, then you will likely have an abundance of swimming pool toys.  To help ensure the safety of your young ones, it is a good idea to simply pick up the pool toys and store them in a place where they are out of sight.  Many people purchase one of those plastic deck boxes for this purpose.  It is totally enclosed and provides a place that toys can be stored where they will not blow away and where they will be hidden from the kids.  Why does this matter?  Small children often have one track minds.  If they see something that they want the will try to get it.  I have seen this behavior with my own son when he wants my cell phone and then throws a fit when he can’t have it.  Let’s say that it is a nice summer evening and you have spent a fun day with the kids in the pool playing with the pool toys.  Now the pool fun is over and you are all inside yet you left the pool toys floating in the pool.  If one of you kids looks out the window and sees that toy they had fun playing with earlier, then they may be inclined to try and retrieve it.  It may seem like a long shot, but that is how the world works sometimes.  Having all the toys picked up and put away where they can’t be seen will help to eliminate that need to play with them again later on.  Remember with little ones, in most cases if it is out of sight, it is out of mind.
For more information on how to stay safe around the pool please check out my other posts.  Also keep checking for new posts on swimming pool safety, and as alway feel free to comment on this post and others I have written.