by Sean Griffin, September 30, 2009
Swimming pools are becoming more common in the backyard of homeowners. When acquiring a pool you are also acquiring an additional responsibility as well as a liability. Drowning accidents are typically silent so preventing the accident, as opposed to responding to the accident, is key. Safety barriers can be used to limit accessibility and add extra security to your pool.
Hedges, fences and barrier walls can also help with evaporation and heat loss by limiting cross winds which account for a large portion of heat loss. Safety barriers include, and are not limited to - safety fencing, landscaping, retaining walls, furniture, and pathways. A well designed barrier works with the existing pool to add elegance to the backyard.
“Layers of Protection” for pools, spas, and hot tubs—an idea that is widely embraced by safety experts. “Layers of Protection” means that, in addition to supervision, the pool, spa, or hot tub is equipped with several devices to delay a child’s unsupervised access, or warn of the child’s presence. These layers should be aimed at protecting the area between the house and the pool, since studies show that children are most at risk in their own backyard, when parents believe they are safely inside the house.
There are many pool fences available with all kinds of styles to meet any home décor. They even have colored and removable fences. You can even buy them for above ground pools (required in many areas). A self-closing, self-latching pool gate is required by many locales, and is an option with many pool safety fence manufacturers.
Most types of in ground pool safety fencing are removable and do require you to drill holes in your pool deck. If you do not want to do that you can put concrete footer on the outside of the deck and sink them below grade to hide them. Looploc has a rigid fencing system that attaches to the deck with the same brass anchors used to secure a mesh safety cover. Fencing is not the most attractive pool accessory, let's face it. But it can save a life, and is a very effective barrier to unauthorized use of your swimming pool when used properly, and ... the gate is shut.
One finding reinforces how quickly submersion accidents can happen. It was found that a child can drown in the time it takes to read 3 sentences and that these children had been missing or out of sight for merely 5 short minutes or less. The child’s survival solely depends on prompt rescue and resumption of breathing since a precious second lost could lead to damaging the brain or worse, death. The CPSC research asks parents and pool owners to observe swimming pool laws, especially since child drowning is a silent and fast death where there are no signals.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov ) did a study on drowning in the USA .The results revealed that 75% of submersion victims were 1-3 years old, 65% of whom were boys. Accordingly, toddlers were more at risk because of their ever-changing capabilities and attempts at autonomy particular to their age group. Interestingly, swimming pool laws were somehow being followed as most victims were being supervised by one or more parent at the time of the accident. Moreover, these children were not expected to be near the pool 69% of the time and yet they were discovered in the water. Most of these submersion accidents happened in a familiar place—in swimming pools owned by the family (65%) and in pools owned by a relative or a friend (33%).