by Rob Cox, August 31, 2011
Dual Fences around swimming pools make safety sense!
Some of the swimming pool fences I've seen around pools aren't really offering that much protection. Many localities allow a 3-sided fence to be installed, with the fourth side being the house.
Some rural areas are lax in their adoption or enforcement of any kind of pool fence ordinance, or may allow such exclusions like an automatic pool cover, or winter safety cover, in lieu of a proper pool fence.
A fence with the most safety will be at least 4 ft high, with slats no wider than 3 inches apart, and be non-climbable. The four-sided fence should have a spring loaded gate, that is self-closing and self-latching.
Poolcenter Blog Reader Steve Barrett sent me pictures of his secondary internal pool fence. This offers another effective layer of protection around his backyard swimming pool.
As Steve said, "After losing a child in a previous pool, years ago - it took a lot of pressure from our grand-children (16, 15, 3 and 4) to convince my wife that we wanted a new pool. Even though our backyard is completely fenced in, a second fence with locking gate gives another line of defense with a 3 year old child - who can sneak out when one least expects it".
Steve's fence will open up wide to expose a great deal of access while using the pool, and you can bet he's careful about locking up the gate when swimming time is over. Another part of the backyard is a playhouse for the younger kids, and this area is also fenced off separately, to contain the younger ones.
Another part of Steve's Layer of Protection strategy is Sherry, his wife. The kids all know about the importance of closing the fence when swim time is over - even though Sherry takes on the responsibility herself. "Time to shut the gate!" she'll say out loud, as wet kids head toward the house. "And no swimming alone...!"
Your backyard oasis may not lend itself so cleanly as this pool to a secondary internal fence, but do give it some thought. Even a partial fence, limiting access to the pool from other parts of the yard, can bring greater security to wandering children. Retaining walls, hedges, and structures can break up the appearance of a continuous fence, while bringing much the same benefit.
They say that "Good Fences make Good Neighbors". Be creative with your pool fencing - if you want to avoid the heartbreak that comes with your pool being involved in a drowning or near-drowning, build layers of protection around your pool. Sherry & Steve aret glad they did this time, and wanted to share this experience to, as a well-known Florida bumper sticker says - "Shut the Gate - Save a Life"
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