Keep Your Swimming Pool a Safe Place to Play
Swimming pools are tamer than the ocean and lakes, but never turn your back on them. For anyone who would rather not take a dip in the sea at freezing temperatures, or during a storm, or during a spate of shark attacks, swimming pools are a viable, controlled alternative. Most people live in neighborhoods or apartment complexes which have swimming pools near them, or within them.
However, a swimming pool in the backyard is something that figures in the home fantasies of many. For those of you who have reached the point of installing that swimming pool in your yard, you must remember that you and your family now have a different relationship with swimming pools than you did when those swimming pools were relatively distant. Now that a pool is in your yard, you will become comfortable with it, it will be more accessible, and you will become less watchful of the goings on around it.
You must not let this happen, especially if you have small children. Each year, 300 children under the age of five drown in swimming pools, and 2,000 go to the hospital. Drowning is the second leading cause of death to children under the age of 14 in unintentional injury deaths. A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than an automobile to be involved in the death of a child 14 or under.
So how do you keep your pool area safe so that you can stop worrying and enjoy it? Well, the most foolproof way is, of course, constant adult supervision of any children in the pool area or who have access to the pool area. But, since constant supervision isn't feasible, and a drowning can take place quickly, during a bathroom break, there are a few other ways to make it work.
One of the best ways is to put a wall completely around the pool, with the gate not accessible to young children. Possibly use a lock. The wall should be at least 4 feet high, and the slats should not be wide, to prevent a child from slipping through. Less than 4 inches is an ideal width. The fence should close and latch by itself, easily, and the latch should be out of reach of the child. The release mechanism for the latch should be at least 3 inches below the top of the fence on the side of the fence that faces the pool, to prevent the child from reaching over the fence and unlocking it. By the same basic principle, you should keep all openings in the fence small so as to keep the child from reaching through to unlock the gate.
If part of the wall around your pool is your house, install door alarms on any doors along the wall. The alarm should emit a sound audible throughout the house whenever the door is unexpectedly open. Of course, to ensure that the alarm does not go off every time the door is opened by anyone, you should set up a keypad out of the reach of the child which you and other adults can use to deactivate the alarm anytime you wish to use the door.
Your child's safety is important. Invest in it.
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