Pool safety equipment
Whether you’re protecting young children or older adults, keeping your pool up to date with the latest safety devices is important. Note that all safety barriers are just deterrents and children should always be supervised by an adult when in the pool. Here are a few pool safety products worth considering.
Pool fences are one of the most common ways to ensure pool safety. Permanent and temporary (removable) pool fences can be bought at big box or home improvement stores.
- Four-sided isolation fences—Four-sided isolation fencing completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house or yard, acting as a barrier to prevent children from accessing the pool. These fences should be at least four feet high and equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates.
- Removable pool fencing—Made of mesh, this is a popular choice for pool owners. It’s left in place when children have the potential to access the swimming pool, but can be removed when adults are present. Its transparent nature allows you to have a clear view of the pool at all times—the only drawback is that it may not meet compliance codes for backyard safety in all areas. A pool professional can provide this information for your specific area.
- Perimeter fences—This type of fencing encloses a backyard pool but allows access through the house. If you choose to install perimeter fencing, consider adding an alarm on the back door in case a small child gains access to the pool area without adult supervision.
- Steel fences—Similar to aluminum fences, steel fences are heavier and stronger. Choose a steel fence with a high-quality coating that will protect your fence from rust.
- Wood fences—Though less expensive when compared to aluminum and steel fencing, wood fencing requires more maintenance like periodic painting and staining.
- Chain link fences—These are extremely affordable and low maintenance. Made from galvanized steel tubing and steel wire mesh, chain link fences are strong and secure.
- Vinyl fences—This attractive, low-maintenance fencing material is slightly more expensive than wood but has a longer lifespan and doesn’t require periodic staining or painting.
We recommend the Protect-A-Child pool fence: it has a strong, unbreakable design and features self-closing gates that keep your pool fence closed and locked.
For above ground pools, install sturdy guard rails around the pool deck. Look for rolled rims on the metal shell to ensure they don’t present a sharp edge. The access ladder should be sturdy and swing up to prevent children from unauthorized entry.
Pool safety nets
Pool safety nets prevent children from falling into the pool, maximize backyard space, and preserve the ambience of the pool area. They are recommended for small or confined pool areas. When looking for a pool safety net, take note of the size of the pool net’s squares—these should be small enough to prevent children from falling through but big enough to prevent walking and standing on the net.
We recommend the Water Warden WWN1836 Pool Safety Net: This custom-fitted net safeguards children and pets from exposed water and pool access. It’s available in multiple sizes for round and rectangular pools.
Safety pool covers
A safety pool cover should hold a minimum of 485 pounds per five square feet. Pool covers come in two varieties—mesh and solid. Both types of safety pool covers are anchored to a deck with straps that pull the cover taut over the pool; the straps usually attach to stainless steel springs and are anchored to recessed brackets in a deck surface.
- Mesh safety pool cover—Designed for long-term use, mesh safety pool covers require little maintenance and provide great drainage during heavy bouts of rain or snowfall. They typically cost $200–$600 less than solid safety pool covers and can be taken on and off by one person. The only downside to a mesh safety pool cover is more pool cleaning in the spring. A mesh-covered pool will likely need a few days of vacuuming, brushing, and filtering before it’s ready for the new season.
- Solid safety pool cover—Solid pool covers keep water out of the pool, keeping it much cleaner and requiring little upkeep in the spring. However, they may not be best for areas that receive heavy rain or snowfall because the collected water can cause the cover to sag, presenting a hazard to small children and pets.
Pool alarms are great at signaling a disturbance in the pool and can alert you if a child is entering the pool area. Remember that pool alarms are just one tool to aid in pool safety and parental guidance is the best way to avoid injuries and other accidents.
- Gate alarms—Mounted directly on your pool’s gate, these battery-powered alarms activate whenever the gate is opened. There’s typically an override button that can be pressed by an adult to allow children to pass through the gate without sounding the alarm. We recommend the PoolGuard Pool Door and Gate Alarm: It complies with building codes and is extremely easy to install. It also comes equipped with a low battery indicator that will audibly alert you when your battery is getting low.
- Perimeter alarms—These alarms use laser or infrared light, forming an unbroken beam of light around the swimming pool perimeter. When someone enters the perimeter, and breaks the beam, an alarm sounds.
- Wearable alarms—Wearable alarms, or wrist alarms, can be worn around your child’s wrist and used in the pool or hot tub. When the alarm is immersed in water, it immediately activates. We recommend the Safety Turtle 2.0 Pool Alarm Child Kit: It comes with a “Turtle” wristband for your child to wear, a base alarm for the house, and a USB cord/wall adapter.
- Wave sensors—Floating wave sensors are mounted on the edge of the pool (or in the pool) and sense water displacement when an object weighing more than fifteen pounds enters the pool. When this happens, a signal (an alarm of approximately 85 decibels) is sent to a remote receiver which is in the home or carried by an adult.
Suction entrapment occurs when a swimmer gets pulled down by the suction of a pool or hot tub drain. If this happens, the victim can get their hair, limbs, or other body parts trapped and pulled toward the drain. A safety vacuum release system (SVRS) is an automatic suction force release system that disables a pool pump’s suction ability to free a body or object from the suction outlet. Once installed (typically by a professional), an SVRS requires little to no maintenance.