Layers of Pool Protection
Drowning prevention experts and manufacturers of pool safety products agree that the most effective pool safety solution is “layered”
So what are the layers?
The graphic below shows how each layer adds an additional level of safety protection. Depending on a family’s lifestyle certain layers will provide stronger protection than others. Its essential to evaluate which layers will work for you and which might simply provide a false security.
Aquatic safety starts with the education of Parents and Pool owners as to the dangers posed not just of swimming pools, but all bodies of water (Ponds / Lakes / Ocean / Baths / Buckets etc)
It is also essential to start educating children early and setting rules for the pool. Eg – Adults must be present before you can get in the water. What to do if they see another child in the water etc… I regularly talk to children at day care facilities. They are eager to share their swimming experiences and listen to their peers when it comes to being safe.
There is simply no alternative to “dedicated” supervision when children are in or near water. No safety product can be considered an alternative for direct adult supervision. Supervision also means being mindful of other aquatic risks when your children are not even in the pool. Ponds, Lakes and Retention ponds pose sizable risks. Even toilets and 5 Gallon buckets – Infants can drown in less than 4 inches of water.
Your homes walls provide the first barrier between your child and the pool area. The walls doors and windows can be effective only if they are locked and unable to be opened by an infant.
Florida building code requires that all new pools be isolated from the rest of the home. This is most easily achieved using a “pool fence” A pool fence can only be effective if it remains closed – which is why we recommend a self closing automatic latching gate.
Pool covers can provide additional protection during the winter – effectively closing off your pool to accidental immersion. Such covers can also keep out winter debris thereby reducing electric and chemical usage. These covers must be installed correctly – unsecured or “slack” covers can be a major hazard in themselves!
There are many types of electronic alarms on the market:
Pool Entry (Sonar & Wave detection)
Personal & Pet entry detection
This is probably the most misunderstood area of pool safety. Some alarms can prove so sensitive, that they end up being ignored or simply switched off! Like smoke alarms – any battery powered unit must be tested regularly.
Skills & Education
Teaching your child to swim provides him with the final solution should all other layers fail. This is the one layer of protection that goes with your child everywhere he goes- even when he is alone. It does not need to be “switched on”. Being competent in the water provides your child with the basis for a lifetime of enjoyment in the pool.
Having an emergency plan in place may be the difference between life and death for your child or a visitor. If you realize your child is missing – always check the pool first. Ensure there is a phone available poolside – preferably hard wired so it can’t be misplaced! Take a CPR course and maintain your skills. Practice emergency response with your children – including what they should do if they see another child in trouble in the water.