Swimming pool safety & security
Owning your own swimming pools is great, but with it, comes a level of responsibility, towards safety and security, which lies squarely on your shoulders.
Regulations concerning swimming pools safety are very disparate across much of Europe. It seems that only the French, to date, have taken this issue seriously, despite the number of accidents that happen.
Some vital staticstics
Each year, in the America, more than 300 children under 5 years old drown in residential swimming pools, and more than 2,000 children in that age group are treated in hospital A&E for submersion injures.
75% of submersion victims were between 1 and 3 years old. And 65% of the group were boys. Toddlers, in particular, often do something unexpected because their capabilities change daily. At the time of the incidents, most victims were being supervised by one or both parents. Amazingly, 69% of the children were not expected to be at or in the pool, yet they were found in the water. Submersion incidents involving children usually happen in familiar surroundings.
It's not just your pool where accidents can happen. Thirty three percent of the incidents happened in a pool owned by friends or relatives. Pool submersions involving children happen quickly - 75% of the victims had been missing from sight for 5 minutes or less. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone.
Survival depends on rescuing the child quickly and restarting the breathing process, even while the child is still in the water. Seconds count in preventing death or brain damage.
Secure your pool
Ideally your swimming pool should be secure, whenever you are not using it. However, at the absolute minimum you should install a pool alarm. A good one of these will probably cost you around £200 – they are easy to install, and require minimal maintenance, particularly if you go for a solar powered one.
For particularly small children however, you should look at the personal wristband type alarm. This is a small, simple wireless device, which attaches securely round the wrist of your child (or pet’s collar). If the wristband is submerged in water, a 100Db alarm goes off at the base station. As these devices are totally portable, they’re also great for taking on holiday, to friends houses, or by lakes and rivers.
The next level of safety is with a barrier of some sort. There are three real options for this. A rigid pool cover/winter cover, a fenced pool surround, or a swimming pool enclosure.
Of the three, the pool enclosure is probably the most expensive, however it does come with many added benefits, beyond being an approved safety barrier. It will help heat the water in your pool, keep out debris, reduce chemical usage and evaporation, and if you heat your pool, a swimming pool enclosure effectively turns it into an indoor pool you can use all year round.