There are plenty of ways to keep your pool safe but none provide as much reassurance as a high-quality safety fence. Any pool owner who has kids – or allows visiting youngsters the freedom to enjoy their pool – needs to make certain that they can enjoy swimming safely. Over 5,000 children under 14 suffer pool accidents requiring hospitalization every year. Of that startling number, 15% will die following their accident, and approximately 20% will suffer life-changing neurological injuries.
Plenty of people mistakenly assume that these drownings all occur at beaches, in wild water or at public pools. In actual fact, one-third of these accidents occur in residential private pools, precisely where the kid ought to be safest. Remember that these incidents can happen at their home, or when visiting friends or neighbor’s properties. The majority of pool accidents involving kids happen between May and August, and unfortunately, because of high temperatures and having a greater number of homes with pools, Los Angeles has one of the worst incident rates in the country.
How Dangerous Are Swimming Pools For Kids?
Before we look at some of the best methods and precautions that can help keep kids safe around a swimming pool, let’s first take a quick look at some statistics provided by the National Safety Council. Hopefully, these will jolt anyone who has yet to consider the danger that their pool can be to children into taking immediate action.
- More than 80% of all drownings occur in residential pools.
- 250 kids under 5 drown every year in residential pools. In 75% of cases an adult was nearby but not in sight of the pool.
- A child can drown within seconds – the same length of time it takes to head indoors to answer the phone.
- One in five kids hospitalized due to drowning will die. For those who survive a near-drowning, expect an ER bill of $75,000, with costs up to $180,000/year if the child is left permanently disabled.
- In ten states – including California – drowning is the #1 cause of death among children aged 14 or under.
There are many more worrying statistics that could be included but this should be enough to get the message over. Pools are dangerous and it is essential that any responsible adult who allows kids (their own and visitors) anywhere near the pool make sure they have adequate security measures in place.
The Best Ways To Keep Children Safe Around A Residential Pool
Let’s face it – in LA the summers can become so hot that taking a dip in the pool is almost a necessity to help cool off. If you have a pool then you are going to allow your kids to use it – but the key is to make sure a responsible adult is there at all times to supervise. But we all know that even the best-behaved kids are going to make mistakes, especially when they are very young. Never assume that a child may not just wander outside under their own steam and jump/slip into the pool. They cannot cry for help when they are underwater – so the first rule is to make sure that they are physically unable to get close in the first case.
1) Pool Safety Fences
We’ll start with the most important. Truth be told, everything else on this list of advice should be considered as secondary and additional improvements. Without a pool safety fence tall and strong enough to keep kids from climbing or breaking through, they will not be adequate on their own. Pool fences are now regarded as a legal necessity in some counties where pools are over 18″ deep and most experts recommend that they are at least five feet high and have outward (away from the pool) opening doors that automatically latch closed.
Do not assume that overground pools are any safer just because they have steps. Young kids are great at crawl-climbing, so if you fall into this bracket of pool owners you still need to adequately enclose at least the stairway entrance.
Should you live in the LA area it is important to understand the legal requirements for pool fences. All the information you may require can be found here: https://guardianpoolfence.com/pool-fencing-law-in-california/
2) Pool Alarm Systems
Alarm systems are a great additional pool safety feature but you should not rely on them alone. After all, how can you be sure that an adult is going to be within earshot? Look for pool alarms that do not just sound when the pool door fence is opened, as these obviously are of little use if the kid climbs or breaks through a wall panel. Ideally, you should try and find a high-quality wave motion detector. These will sound (loud!) when they notice a sudden disruption in the water.
While they are not perfect when used alone pool alarms are a very useful addition to your residential pool safety apparatus. In some states, they are already mandatory additions to new pool installations.
3) Keep A Rescue Kit At Hand
You need one of these, especially if you have a large or especially deep pool. It should be well labeled and stored somewhere sensible (by the pool door is ideal). Be sure to include essentials such as immediately deployable floatation/buoyancy aids, long-life hooks, and an emergency first aid kit. Remember that not all serious pool accidents involve the water. Bad slips and falls can result in fractures and similar bodily trauma, so keep it well-stocked at all times and learn how to perform basic medical care/CPR.
4) Set Your Rules – And Enforce Them
Laying down the rules and keeping them updated is an essential feature of keeping your kids safe in the pool. While it can be taught when they are learning to swim it is best to make sure they understand these before being allowed anywhere close to the pool. Make a sign – ideally with pictures – reminding that pool privileges will be removed if anyone breaks the rules.
Suitable rules are exactly the same as you would see posted at any public pool facility. No running, diving, pushing, horseplay, fighting, and so on.
5) Perform Daily Inspections
You are responsible for making sure that kids are safe around your pool. Ensure that any potential hazards are removed, and this may range from simple trip hazards (responsible for dozens of deaths every year) through to poorly stored chemicals and cleaning agents. Make sure that not only your pool fence door is secure (padlocks are a good idea for added peace of mind) but also that drain covers are fastened tight and firmly in place.
Los Angeles Pool Safety Code
LA has some of the tightest legal requirements in the country when it comes to making sure new build pools are installed with appropriate security measures. It covers many of the points covered above and the local building authority will visit to ensure that all mandatory requirements have been suitably met.
Anyone who comes into possession of an older pool may need to make remedial efforts to ensure that their pool is safe for kids to use. Do not assume that simply because it has been enjoyed safely for decades that it is somehow any less dangerous. Never forget that despite these regulations LA still has one of the worst pool safety records in the country.
The Safety Code is only useful if people enforce it and also remember that ultimately, the safety of their kids is their own responsibility. How you behave and install a ‘safety first’ attitude with children around the pool is of paramount importance and worth far more than regulations alone.
All pool/yard furniture will degrade over time. It is essential to make sure that your pool fence is not only kept up to scratch but also complies with the legal requirements/recommendations set down by local authorities. LA residents looking to make sure that their pool fence more than meets the recommended levels should take a look at Guardian’s Premier Pool Fencing. Their range has been independently approved by the City of Los Angeles – something which has never before been granted to any pool fencing company.