Protecting Kids in At-Home Pool Environments
Last updated: March 22, 2023, at 4:57 a.m. PT
Originally published: April 29, 2020, at 10:37 a.m. PT
All responsible pool owners should have safety protocols in place to protect children, guests, pets, and others from hurting themselves near the pool. In addition to teaching people about proper pool safety (like not running near the pool and never swimming alone), you can employ different types of pool safety barriers to control when people use your swimming pool. There are two main categories of pool safety barriers: electronic and physical.
1. Electronic Pool Safety Monitors
With the right electronic safety barriers in place, you can protect your family and your guests from potential pool hazards. Here are some different types of electric pool safety monitors:
Side-Mounted Pool Alarms
Side-mounted pool alarms are attached to the side of a swimming pool. They are designed to go off when an object weighing 15 pounds or more enters the pool. There is a sensor that sits below the surface of the water to detect pressure differences that could indicate a child or pet has fallen into the pool. Side-mounted pool alarms may cause some problems on windy days because the wind can move the water enough to trigger a false alarm. With that in mind, this is a great source of backup security that could help you keep an eye on your swimming pool.
Pool Alarm Arm Bands
Pool alarm armbands are designed to help parents keep an eye on their children while they are playing in the pool. A special armband goes around the child’s wrist, and that armband sends a signal to a speaker a parent is monitoring. If the band is submerged underwater, the speaker sets off an alarm to alert the parent. This works for kiddie pools, ponds, and other bodies of water, not just in-ground swimming pools. If you have small children and are worried about their safety around water this could be a great option for you.
You can set up motion sensors around your pool to detect when someone enters the area or jumps directly into the pool. If you have a gated fence around your pool, you can put a motion sensor on the gate to let you know when it gets opened. This may set off an alarm or pair with an app on your phone that sends you a push notification when motion is detected. Either way, you will know if someone is in your pool area when they aren’t supposed to be.
Another alternative to setting up motion sensors is to put a simple door alarm on your back door. You can buy these for a few dollars each at any home improvement store and mount them yourself. There are two parts to the alarm – one that connects to the door itself and one that connects to the door frame. Whenever the two parts are separated, an alarm goes off. Door alarms may not connect directly to your pool, but they can help you keep an eye on anyone who finds their way into the yard without permission.
2. Physical Pool Safety Barriers
In addition to electric pool safety monitors, there are physical pool safety barriers that you can use to protect people from accidents in or around water.
Swimming pool covers are by far the most effective physical safety barriers you can invest in. They go directly over the water to prevent people and pets from falling in. This isn’t to say that people can’t fall into a covered pool, but the chances of drowning or serious injury are greatly reduced. Automatic covers are ideal because they are built to withstand heavy weight and work on their own. Other covers will provide temporary coverage, but they are not designed to support the weight of a human being.
Temporary or Permanent Pool Fencing
Installing a fence around your pool deck is another way to protect people and pets from getting into the pool when they are not supposed to. You can either choose to install a temporary fence that you remove at the end of the summer, or you can get a permanent fence that protects your pool all year long.
Yard Privacy Fencing
As a secondary source of protection, you may consider installing a privacy fence around your yard. Make sure to put a lock on the side gate and any doors. The more secure your property is, the less likely people are to get into your pool without authorization.
Hedges, Shrubs, and Other Plants
Plants aren’t exactly foolproof when it comes to pool safety, but they can provide a little extra security when you need it most. For instance, a set of thorny bushes on the outermost part of the pool area may detract intruders and neighborhood kids from jumping into your pool when you are not around. These also provide a layer of privacy if you cannot put up a fence in your yard. However, keep in mind that this privacy may obstruct your view of the pool, which means you may not be able to watch your children while they play in it. Do not install plants around your pool if they are going to create a safety hazard, rather than preventing one.