The Best Form of Pool Protection Is Found in “Layers”
Pool Safety, Pools
As a pool owner, you want to do everything possible to keep your family and friends safe around your pool. In our industry, the best way to do this is to follow the “Layers of Pool Protection” guidelines outlined by safety experts. Let’s step through the “Layers” and learn about how they can help protect your loved ones.
Aquatic safety starts with the education of parents and pool owners about the dangers posed not just of swimming pools, but all bodies of water.
It is also essential to make sure all children and guests know the rules of your pool. Educate early!
Always have a dedicated water watcher when children are in or near the water. No safety product is an alternative for direct adult supervision.
The walls of your home are the first barrier between your child and the pool, but doors and windows are only effective if they are locked and cannot be opened by an infant.
Here are the NYS requirements for pool barriers. You can find more information about all the NYS codes and requirements by clicking here. (link to https://www.dos.state.ny.us/DCEA/pools.htm)
- The barrier must completely surround the swimming pool and must obstruct access to the swimming pool.
- The barrier must be at least 4 feet (48 inches) high.
- In the case of an above-ground pool, the barrier may be at ground level or mounted on top of the pool structure; however, if the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the space between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier cannot exceed 4 inches.
- A building wall can form part of the required barrier. However, where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, at least one of the following requirements must be satisfied:
- the pool must be equipped with a powered safety cover
- all doors with direct access to the pool through that wall must be equipped with an alarm or other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, which are approved by the governing body
- In the case of an above-ground pool, the pool structure itself can serve as a part of the required barrier, provided that the pool structure is sufficiently rigid to obstruct access to the pool. However, where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then:
- the ladder or steps shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier
- when the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter sphere.
- Barriers shall be located so as to prohibit permanent structures, equipment or similar objects from being used to climb the barriers.
In New York Sate, you are required to have a pool alarm. They can help give a parent time to act before an unsupervised child is endangered.
Electronic alarms on the market include:
- Home security
- Pool Entry (Sonar & Wave detection)
- Personal & Pet entry detection
Two places to consider alarming include:
- Entry gate—this will make a sound when the gate to your pool is opened
- Pool alarms—they are activated when the water in your pool is disturbed
Skills & Education
Make sure your child has learned how to swim and be confident in the water. By teaching your child to swim, it serves as the one layer of protection that is always with him/her. In addition, it sets the stage for a lifetime of enjoyment in the pool! All the local YMCA branches offer swimming lessons for infants, children and adults.
Develop an emergency plan. If, for example, you realize your child is missing always check the pool first. Keep a phone poolside if you need to make an emergency call.
Practice emergency responses with your children so they know what to do if they see someone in trouble in the water. Make sure to take a CPR course and keep your skills current. The Red Cross offers CPR training for a reasonable fee.
Nobody likes to think about emergency situations, but it is well worth the time to make sure your family is both safe and prepared. This ensures your pool experience is a pleasurable one.