There are several layers to a safe above ground swimming pool. The first, and most important, layer is always supervision. It’s never safe to swim alone and children should always have an adult poolside. Pools are made to enjoy together.
The second layer of protection is restriction of entry. When you’re not around it’s important to make sure a child cannot gain entry to the pool. Unlike in-ground pools, above ground pools don’t necessarily have to be fenced. If the height of the pool wall is 48 inches or higher and the wall is rigid, the pool wall itself acts as the fence. So, it’s critical not to store items that children could use to climb up on to enter the pool near the pool. Try to keep storage totes, filter systems, garden equipment or like items at least four feet away from the pool.
If you build a deck up to or around the pool the stairs leading from the ground up to the deck must have a self-closing, self-latching gate. If the pool deck is an extension of decking which is accessed directly from the house, all doors leading from the house have to be self-closing and self-latching.
Here is what New York State Regulations say:
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.
Preparation should be considered the third layer of protection. It’s important all children in the household be taught to swim and tread water. Some community pools such as the YMCA, offer swim lessons for very young children. All adults in the household should also learn basic CPR in case an emergency arises. Children should be taught how to dial 911 for help.
The fourth layer of protection is a pool alarm. Every swimming pool that is installed, constructed or substantially modified after December 14, 2006, must be equipped with an approved pool alarm. Every new above ground pool from Pettis Pools comes with a pool alarm as standard equipment.
Again, here is what New York State Regulations say about pool alarms:
- is capable of detecting a person entering the water at any point on the surface of the pool and giving an audible alarm
- to provide detection capability at every point on the surface of a swimming pool, it may be necessary to install more than one pool alarm
- is audible poolside and at another location on the premises where the swimming pool is located
- is not an alarm device which is located on a person, or which is dependent on a device located on a person for its proper operation
- meets ASTM F2208
An often-overlooked safety issue is the proper storage of water treatment products. Be sure to store your water treatment products out of the reach of children and pets. It’s best to store chemicals out of the sun, in a cool area and away from gasoline or gas-powered machinery. Never mix chemicals and always add water to a bucket and then the chemical. Treat all pool chemicals with caution. They are very concentrated and can be harmful until they have been added to the pool water.
Safety first is always is the best policy. With these few precautions, your summer will go swimmingly!