Which one: Pool Covers or Pool Fence?
An alarming percentage of accidental deaths of children are due to residential swimming pools. Pool safety covers can help prevent this tragedy, but are they a replacement for a pool fence?
Pool owners know that a pool cover can keep the pool clean during the winter. However, most pool covers are no defense against accidental drowning. In fact, solar pool covers and winter pool covers will sink under the weight of a child or family pet.
A pool safety cover, however, comes with heavy duty straps that attach to anchor brackets in the deck surface. For a cover to be considered a pool safety cover, it must be able to hold up at least 485 pounds per 5 square feet. Most adults and any child can walk across a properly secured safety pool cover as easily as a deck.
The problem with this has to do with “properly secured” The other issue is children can and have drowned on top of safety pool covers. Water can collect on top of pool covers from rain, snow or even condensation. When a child or pet gets on to a wet cover their weight puts them at the low point of the cover. Water will always seek the low point and the cover is very slippery. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water.
Cover Versus Fence Pool safety covers must be properly secured to be effective. Improperly secured or unsecured pool covers are as much of a danger as all other type of pool covers. A pool safety cover must be intentionally secured, but a pool fence should have a gate that automatically closes and latches.
A fence needs to be closed properly to be effective but that takes about five seconds to insure the safety of a child. A pool safety cover takes time to secure properly. If a person wants to just run into the house to get a drink or use the bathroom, a pool cover can become a liability because of the time it takes to secure the cover to the deck.
Children can drown in just the couple of minutes it takes to run into a house. If the pool cover is left open, everyone has access to the pool. On the other hand, with a pool fence, keeping a child away from the pool while the adult goes into the house can be quickly done by taking the child outside the fence and locking the gate.
Safety pool covers can be undone by children. They do not have locks on them so there is a possibility of a child undoing a corner and slipping into the pool. All pool fences can be locked so a child cannot get in. A pool safety cover is good for secondary protection against accidental drowning but the primary safety product for homes with children should always be a pool fence.