As the weather starts to warm, you can’t help but stare at your backyard pool, anxious to begin a new season of memories with friends and family. No matter the season, pool safety should always be top of mind where children are concerned. With safety barriers – or layers of protection – in place between the home and the pool, you can experience the pleasures of backyard swimming pools and feel confident that children, grandchildren and visitors will be safeguarded from pool accidents.
It’s impossible to watch your children every second of every day. There are times when a parent or caregiver is distracted by answering the phone or door, household tasks or checking email. Unfortunately, accidents tend to happen very quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14. The CDC reports that in most cases, the children involved were out of their parents’ sight for less than five minutes.
The good news: Drowning can be prevented. Barriers help buy those few minutes needed to see where children are after you’ve momentarily lost sight of them.
Numerous studies have shown that an isolation fence separating the home from the pool can prevent 50 to 90 percent of all toddler drownings. Only an isolation fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate in proper working order will prevent children from getting into the water without your knowledge.
Liability can become an issue if a visitor is injured. Homeowners can improve the safety and security of their pools or spas with isolation fencing with self-closing, self-latching gate hardware like that used by D&D Technologies (www.ddtechglobal.com). These types of gate hardware can be found at most home improvement stores or contact your fencing contractor. In most towns, it’s the law to have self-closing, self-latching pool gates.
Magnetically triggered latches like D&D’s self-latching MagnaLatch have been shown to offer safe, reliable operation, latching even when locked in the open position. Pool gates must also be self-closing, and D&D’s TruClose hinges feature a tension adjustable enclosed spring so gates need no hazardous external spring.
Rust-free gate hardware by D&D Technologies is available under the Stanley or National Hardware brand through select Lowe’s stores or online at www.lowes.com and other hardware retailers.
If you have a pool, you have a responsibility to safeguard it. There is no substitute for vigilant supervision. But there are additional steps you can and should take to keep everyone safe – including these.
* Never prop a gate open for convenience or during pool parties. It’s simply not worth the risk.
* Always ensure that doors from the home are locked, alarmed, or fitted with child-safety latching devices.
* Ensure that pet doors are secured or open into an area that is isolated from the pool.
* If the house forms one side of the barrier, doors leading into the pool area should be protected with alarms that produce a loud sound when the door is unexpectedly opened.
* Power safety covers that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards can be very effective if closed whenever the pool is not in use. Manually operated covers tend to be left open; closing them frequently requires two adults.
* Ensure children in the home learn how to swim, and that adults know CPR. CPR can make the difference between full recovery and brain damage or death. If anyone else will be supervising kids in the pool, make sure they learn it, too. Impress upon babysitters that they must follow your safety rules.
* When children are in the pool, designate a “water watcher” to maintain uninterrupted supervision of children in the pool at all times.
* When not in use, keep toys and other objects out of the pool area, and don’t use chlorine dispensers that look like animals or toys that will attract children.
With layers of protection between your home and your pool, you can give your family years of safer relaxation and enjoyment, and build some great family memories. For drowning prevention tips, visit www.ndpa.org or poolsafely.org.