An Effective Pool Safety Plan Requires Layers of Protection

Pool owners often think of a pool alarm as their best line of defense against accidents and drowning. But its important to look at the big picture when it comes to backyard pool safety. You need to consider multiple layers of protection, including pool fences and pool gate/door alarms, in order to create an effective pool safety plan.

Most cities and states have pool safety laws that require homeowners to have a pool alarm and/or a pool gate alarm. Check with your municipality to learn what is mandated in your community a pool fence, a pool door or gate alarm, a pool alarm, or all of the above.

Fence it In

A pool safety fence is the first layer of protection to prevent accidental drowning in your backyard pool. Barriers such as pool fencing prevent unsupervised children and others from gaining access to your pool area.

It is recommended that pool owners install a fence at least 4 feet tall that separates the pool area from the house and yard. Avoid fences that children can easily climb, and look for self-closing and self-latching gates that open away from the pool area with latches beyond a child’s reach.

A four-sided isolation fence that separates the pool area from the house and yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83%, compared to three-sided property-line fencing. Professionally installed fencing can be expensive, which is one reason why convenient, cost-effective mesh pool safety fencing has become a popular alternative to wood, PVC or aluminum pool fences.  Do-it-yourself mesh pool safety fences like the Life Saver Systems DIY Pool Fence are a type of isolation fence that are both affordable and easy to install.

Install a Pool Gate/Door Alarm

Pool gate and door alarms are one of the most affordable and effective ways to prevent young children and non-swimmers from entering your pool area without supervision. While most municipalities require homeowners to erect a fence around backyard swimming pools, the pool fence gate and any household doors that open to the pool area can be a weak link in keeping curious youngsters out of the water.

A pool door or gate alarm adds another layer of safety by sounding a piercing siren when someone opens the door or gate leading to the pool area. The alarm sounds continuously or intermittently until the reset button is pushed or the battery expires. The big advantage of a pool door or gate alarm is it gives the pool owner the opportunity to intervene before a child or trespasser gets near the water. Most gate and door alarms are battery-powered and easy to install. Some models fit both fence gates and doors; other models fit only gates or only doors. Models with a remote receiver can be connected to a home security system so the alarm will be heard inside and outside.

Popular Models and Key Features

Poolguard Gate Alarm GAPT-2Poolguard Gate Alarm
  • Can be used on any gate giving access to your pool.
  • Alarm will sound in 7 seconds of gate or door opening, even if it is then closed.
  • Alarm resets automatically so it is always on guard.
  • Siren volume: 85 dB (at 10 feet).


Poolguard Door Alarms
  • Can be used on any household door leading to pool area.
  • Two models: No delay before alarm sounds and 7 second delay.
  • Alarm resets automatically so it is always on guard.
  • Siren volume: 85 dB (at 10 feet).


Pool Patrol Door / Gate Alarm with Wireless Remote Receiver
  • Mounts to any door, gate or fence.
  • Comes with a remote receiver so alarm will sound at gate or door and in your house (up to approximately 200 feet away).
  • Can be integrated with your home security system.
  • Siren volume: +/-85 db (at 10 feet).


YardGard Alarm System YG18 Programmable for Gates, Windows, and DoorsYardGard Programmable Alarm 
  • Designed for gates, windows and doors.
  • Allows you to program your own entry and exit code.
  • Features a 7 or 15 second delay so adults can pass through using a convenient single button pass / reset operation.
  • Siren volume: 95 dB (at 10 feet).


MagnaLatch ALERT Pool Safety Gate Latch with Alarm
  • This is a magnetic latch that is easy to install to vinyl, metal or wood gate posts, and always engages.
  • Alarm has dual electric warnings when unlatched: bright LED lights and an audible alarm.
  • Two models: Top Pull for child safety and Vertical Pull for pet safety.
  • Alarm has an at-a-glance lock indicator.
  • Latch has a rekeyable lock for extra security and convenience.


Add a Pool Alarm for Double Protection

For double protection, swimming pool safety guidelines recommend using both a pool gate or door alarm and a pool alarm. A pool alarm is one of the best investments you can make if you have any kind of backyard swimming pool. With a pool alarm, anyone who gets past the gate/door alarm will still be protected if he or she falls into the water. This means you can greatly reduce the risk of babies, young children, pets, and non-swimmers of all ages accidentally drowning in your backyard.

Shopping for a Pool Alarm

Choosing the best pool alarm for your backyard pool can be confusing since there are so many types and technologies available today. The first consideration in choosing a pool alarm is the type of pool you have. To avoid operational or installation issues, choose a pool alarm designed specifically for inground pools or an alarm that works in both inground and above-ground pools. These comparison charts for above-ground pools and in-ground pools are a great place to start.

pool alarms

There are a variety of detection technologies used in pool alarms: surface wave detection; subsurface detection; immersion detector wristband; and infrared perimeter detection.


Advanced Technologies

The most advanced (and effective) pool alarms use a combination of technologies. This improves the alarms ability to sense when a person or pet is in the water and to also minimize false alarms caused by wind or falling objects. To learn more about the different detection technologies, read the blog articles Everything you Need to Know about Above-Ground Pool Alarms and In-ground Pool Alarm Shopping Guide.

A traditional pool alarm like the PoolEye PE23 Alarm System mounts on the side of the pool and alarms when someone or something enters or falls into the pool. For extra protection, a water immersion pool alarm like the Safety Turtle 2.0 Wristband Immersion Alarm can be used to protect children around a pool. If a child wearing the special water-activated Safety Turtle wristband falls into the pool, a loud alarm will sound at the nearby base station.


Extra Protection for Kids and Pets

The Poolguard PGRM-2 subsurface wave detection alarm provides more consistent alarming and is less likely to false alarm than surface wave detection alarms. However, it may not be good for protecting small pets under 15 lbs.

A good choice to protect lightweight pets and small wild animals is the Pool Patrol PA-30 that floats on the waters surface and comes with a remote receiver to set up in your house. It alarms when anyone or anything heavier than 8 pounds falls into the water and makes waves.

Pool Patrol Pool Alarm with Wireless Remote Receiver PA-30

You can also install a Pool Watchdog Safety Camera that allows you to view activity via streaming live video on your smartphone, computer or tablet. Pool WatchDog also sends email or text message alerts to your mobile device if someone enters the pool area.



With an estimated 300 children under the age of five drowning each year in backyard pools, creating a pool safety plan with multiple layers of protection is critical to securing your backyard pool area. Installing a pool fence, pool alarm, and/or gate alarm will give you peace of mind, knowing you are providing the maximum amount of protection possible for children, pets, and non-swimmers.


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