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by Rob Cox, November 4, 2012
Winter Pool Safety Tips
It is true - more accidents happen around the pool during the warmer summer months. However, serious tragedies can and do occur during the off-season, in both warm-weather sunbelt pools and in frozen northern pools.
It's easy to be less aware of the pool and the danger it presents during winter. Who would want to go swimming anyway - in that cold water? Accidental submersion by the very young or very old, or falling on the pool cover, with only an inch of water on it, can be lethal.
Here's some tips for pool safety during winter, and some tips on improving safety for pools that use solid, floating winter pool covers.
Portable pools should not be left up during winter. The best safety effort for portable pools, like the Intex Frame Set or Easy Set pools, shown left - is to drain them, dry them fold them and store them.
Portable pools are often times not surrounded by adequate perimeter fences, or effective pool alarms. Portable pools are too flexible, and easy for a young person to roll onto, or use a nearby chair to climb onto.
So, unless you are in the deep, deep south - and you're using the pool regularly, it will be best for the pool, and for the safety of these pool types, to drain and store it for winter.
1. Remove any items in the backyard that could be used as a step.
2. Remove or lock any ladders connected to an attached pool deck.
3. If the pool deck is attached to the house, install a secondary safety fence.
4. If you have a complete surround deck, install a safety cover.
1. Inspect your fence regularly for needed repairs during winter.
2. Lock any gates that are not used frequently.
3. If a solid cover w/ water bags is used, you can still use a pool alarm.
4. Keep solid pool covers pumped off, clean and over-weighted.
Solid pool covers, like those pictured above can be dangerous for the very young or very old person, or large animal who happens to fall on them. The weight of a person causes the cover to wrap tightly around the person, while any rain water on top comes rushing towards the low spot in the cover.
If you try to walk across a solid, floats-on-the-water type of pool cover, you'll get about 2 steps in, and be quickly swallowed up by the cover. You sink into the cover, and the weight of the water on the other side of the cover wraps the cover tightly around your legs and body. It makes any movement difficult, and like quicksand, the more you struggle the deeper you sink.
Safety pool covers, like the one pictured left, can support an elephant, so they do fine for children and pets. If you have a safety pool cover, either mesh or solid, you can rest easy during the winter, confident in the security they provide.
OK, so here's the sales pitch. For inground pools that are winterized, or for pools that aren't used 4 months out of the year, invest in a safety cover.
Safety covers can last 12+ years, they look great, are low maintenance, and are the best form of winter pool safety you can provide for your family, friends and pets.
If a safety cover isn't in the cards for this season, play it safe, follow the guidelines above, and keep pool safety in mind this winter!
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