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Especially for children, the pool in their own backyard in the summer months is a way to frolic or refresh themselves on hot days like the adults. However, despite all its benefits for a child’s body and psyche, a swimming pool also poses numerous risks for them.

Although small children, in particular, who do not yet know how to swim, seem to be safe on land, every year a certain number of the smallest members of our society drown or suffocate some time after swimming. In order for the pool to remain a constant source of exuberant joy for children, and adults, it is essential to secure it with regard to possible dangers.

Childproofing the pool: Required by law?

Not only the owner of a property, but also its tenants or leaseholders, are legally obligated, in the course of the so-called duty of care, to ensure that no one is harmed there, which of course includes the swimming pool.

Due to this fact, even a pool must be childproof, if the respective owner has no children, because in many cases accidents with neighbor children could happen.

It is true that especially small children should be under constant supervision of their parents or another person, but it is possible that in some cases you will be held liable, for example, if the pool is not secured or not sufficiently secured against unauthorized access.

In most cases, the specific legal conditions on site differ, so to be on the safe side, you have to ask the responsible authority which regulations apply with regard to measures for child and pet safety.

5 solutions for effective pool child safety

There are a few options on how you can ensure appropriate pool safety, especially with regard to children, and thus fulfill your road safety obligation. The following sections describe each solution individually, and you should decide which is best based on the conditions on site or your general living situation.

Solution 1: Build and design a safe pool

Already at the time of planning the pool, it is recommended to make inquiries about legal standards for the later construction, so that these can be implemented. Here, among other things, attention to the perimeter of the pool is important, because there is, for example, an increased risk of slipping, which must be minimized.

In addition, in case the pool is not used for some periods of time, you should dismantle any kind of access, including ladders, slides or stairs.

Solution 2: Pool child safety alarm

Since the combination of several safety options is a good way to create an appropriate bathing environment or, in some cases, it is no longer possible to respond to the safety aspect through structural measures, a pool alarm is a sensible investment for most pools.

Although this will not prevent accidents, it is due to the respective signal given that you can react promptly to the situation. Prices start at about 80 euros, and a distinction must be made between the following models.

Pool alarm (free-floating): This method is particularly efficient in the event of movement of the pool water. It is also completely independent of the level of the water in your pool. After the alarm signal is sounded, the corresponding device often turns off as soon as there is no more water movement.

Pool Alarm (mounted): Unlike the alternative above, tools in this category are sensitive to the changes in individual level, with a signal that attracts your attention. However, since this is changed not only by people or animals falling in, but also by the effect of the sun or precipitation, such as snow, rain and hail, a false alarm is not at all uncommon.

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Pool Alarm (as a band for children and pets): With the help of a bracelet for children and a band for any type of pet, respectively, it is also possible to detect a potential danger to life and limb, as with the other two variants. The sensor wristbands or collars trigger an often loud reaction at a base station when they come into contact with water. However, this pool alarm is not located in the pool, but is worn by the child or pet in question.

Solution 3: Childproof pool covers

On the one hand, a cover for your pool not only prevents staining from leaves or insects and ensures that the pool loses its appeal to children during extended periods of non-use, but on the other hand, there is an increased risk of an accident, especially for younger children who may have difficulty assessing the material located under the pool cover.

In addition to a potential prevention of temperature fluctuations of the pool water in some models, which in turn has a beneficial effect on the chemical composition of the water, they should pay attention to all that in the course of a downpour can drain the accumulated liquid. The different childproof pool covers are described in the following sections.

Childproof cover: It is essential to ensure that the cover in question is designated as a so-called safety cover. This means that it meets certain standards, such as being made of particularly strong and resistant material, including PVC. The tarp is then secured with the help of eyelets, tension straps and also stainless steel hooks, although the latter are not suitable for soft ground.

Childproof sliding covers: Especially for rectangular pools, a sturdy cover for your swimming pool represents an efficient option of child safety, especially since it can be secured against unauthorized sliding with the help of an adequate locking device.

In most cases, sliding covers are made of polycarbonate double-webbed sheets with a thickness of 10 millimeters, as well as UV-resistant gaskets made of rubber, although there are certainly other design options.

A high financial investment of often several thousand euros guarantees that the particular child gets wet feet in the worst case, because the cover sinks under load to the so-called safety edge.

Solution 4: Pool child safety fence

Not only children, but also larger pets, a safety fence protects against accidents and thus possibly serious injuries. Ideally, the fence is made of, for example, wood, sturdy plastic or metal, permanently installable in conjunction with a height of at least 1.10 meters, as well as a lockable gate.

Both an installed and a mobile safety fence must also not have any options that serve curious children to climb, which can include, among other things, too large meshes or protruding crossbars.

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Solution 5: Pool child safety net

The use of a net as a pool child safety fence is in principle rather not recommended, as this tool is usually applied with regard to ponds, which are characterized by other features than a swimming pool.

Completely unsuitable are the so-called leaf protection nets, which serve to prevent pollution by leaves, while personal protection nets for ponds should also not be applied to a pool.

Due to the fact that these items were not designed for pools, it is impossible to foresee how efficient they actually are in an emergency, especially since improper use creates even potentially more dangerous risks than when using tested pool accessories.

The most important rules at the pool

Despite all the technical precautions, it is worthwhile if you also establish some rules of conduct for the use of the pool, while the first maxim should always be that children should not be unsupervised under any circumstances.

Furthermore, it is advisable that they also internalize never to come alone within reach of the pool or to run or romp in its area, because this increases the risk of injury. It makes sense to clean up the pool area promptly after children have used it and to signal to them that no objects should be thrown into the pool water.

First aid at the pool

Although hopefully it will never occur, it is prudent to prepare for a possible emergency with some measures. These include purchasing, as well as placing near the pool, potentially life-saving paraphernalia such as a life ring, a long pole, a first aid kit and a life buoy.

In addition, it is worthwhile to take a first aid course, if it is offered with regard to rescuing children, there you can acquire even more specific knowledge, and periodically recall what you have learned.

Pool Safety for Pets

Apart from children, in many cases pets and sometimes wild animals also have accidents in a pool. Although one can prevent such an event with the measures already described above, however, in the event that an animal falls into the pool, an animal-friendly exit aid should be installed in advance with a fixation at the edge of the pool and a weighting at the bottom.

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Due to the fact that pets can’t climb up the smooth pool walls, this attachment is potentially life-saving and can also be custom made by you, making sure to have a surface that provides the necessary grip for claws or the like.

Is it possible to build a childproof pool cover yourself?

Of course, it is possible to make a childproof pool cover on your own with a corresponding amount of time and effort. This is a stable cover that provides sufficient protection against accidents, provided that it is made with the necessary knowledge, which is why you should consult an experienced professional in case of doubt.

Depending on the favored model, some instructions can be found on the Internet, a large number of which use a few rods of aluminum as a base.

Conclusion

Frolicking in the cool water and having fun with friends is good for children not only physically, but also mentally.

Since in many cases, especially when they are still very young, children are not yet able to adequately assess the risks of an accident associated with the use of a pool, in addition to a combination of diverse child safety measures, certain prudent behaviors, such as avoiding running around near the pool, should also be regularly recalled in children’s minds.

Furthermore, there are a number of specific options for protecting the pool against accidents involving animals, including the installation of a pet-friendly exit aid in case the four-legged friends do fall into the water of your pool.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.