Set Up a Barrier Around the Pool and Spa
According to the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is major public health problem worldwide. In 2016, there was an estimated 320,000 people that died from drowning. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for seven percent of all injury-related deaths. Drowning is also the leading cause of unintentional death for young children under the age of four.
With knowledge comes prevention. As families are home and using their pools more, now is the time to brush up on your pool safety in order to maintain a safe swimming environment and prevent tragic accidents.
Physical barricades such as walls, fences and covers are the first line of defense. In many states, these are mandated by law. Here are some pool barrier guidelines from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Fences around pools should be a minimum of four feet high; 5 feet or higher is preferable.
- Spaces in the fence should not be wide enough for a small child to fit through. If a fence has vertical bars, they should be no more than four inches apart.
- Holes, cutouts or stones in a wall or fence should not be big enough to provide hand and footholds. If there are cutouts in the fence (such as decorative shapes or lattice holes) make sure the openings are less than 1 ¾ inches wide.
- Chain link fences should not exceed 1 ¼ inches square. If the fence mesh is too large, attach vertical slats to close off the openings.
- Don’t put structures (like benches or large stones) nearby. These objects can help a child hop the fence.
- Gates to the pool area should have self-closing latches that are beyond the reach of children. No fence is secure if the gate isn’t closed.
There are alternative options available rather than using permanent, hardscape fences. Such as:
For smaller bodies of water, such as hot tubs and spas, rigid folding covers may be used. These covers block the water entirely. Consider using locking straps to secure the cover in place and prevent children from opening the cover.
Pool covers, either manual or automatic, stretches across the top of the pool and anchors into the pool deck. These cover the entire pool and blocks access to the water.
A pool safety net is an alternative option as well. These nets lay across the pool made up of a strong, synthetic material that preserves space and allow for an unobstructed view, all while maintaining optimal safety. When installed correctly could catch and support a kid that might have tumbled in.
There is no single safety device or protective measure that will completely safeguard your pool or spa nor prevent every possible accident. Incorporate several lines of safety protocols. Devices and barricades aren’t a substitute for an adult with a watchful eye. Never allow a child near water unsupervised, even if they can swim.