With drowning ranked as the second leading cause of unintentional death to children nationwide, you would think more homeowners would make pool safety a priority. Sadly, three-quarters of all pool- or spa-related fatalities involve children under the age of 5 according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In California, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4 years old!
Never Heard the Splash
Many families of young drowning victims report that they never heard a splash when the child fell into the pool and slipped below the water’s surface. Oftentimes one parent mistakenly thinks the other parent is watching the child and in reality, no one is supervising! In California, a babysitter went inside to use the bathroom for a few minutes and while she was gone, the two toddlers in her charge opened a sliding door and found their way to the pool. One drowned and the other suffered permanent brain damage.
Pool Safety Begins With a Fence
Nearly every state has strict pool safety laws for public swimming pools, but backyard pools and spas are typically regulated by local municipalities. Many towns require a pool fence around the pool area (minimum four feet tall) with a self-closing and self-latching gate. And while fences are a good first step to prevent accidental drownings, there are additional steps a homeowner can take to improve pool safety.
In addition to a fence, many communities require a gate alarm that sounds an alert when someone passes through the fence to the pool area. While a gate alarm works well to protect entry from outside the home, households with young children should also install a door alarm on all doors that lead from inside the home to the pool area. With a door alarm, a siren will sound as soon as an unsupervised child pushes open a door and before he wanders into the backyard and toward the pool.
Pool Alarm is the Ultimate Backup
Incredibly, many pool owners report that they tend to ignore the siren of their gate alarm and door alarm because “it goes off every time someone opens the door!” or when they are hosting a pool party with lots of people and activity. That’s why a pool alarm, which will emit a piercingly loud siren when a person (or pet) actually enters the water, is the ultimate backup alarm system for pool safety. And since a pool alarm’s siren is heard outside the house, it can also alert nearby neighbors so they can respond to the emergency should the homeowners be out.
Different Types of Pool Alarms
- A traditional “surface wave detection” pool alarm activates when someone or something disturbs the surface of the water which creates a waving action.
- The more advanced “subsurface wave detection” pool alarm detects displacement under the water’s surface, thus it’s less likely to false-alarm for wind or small objects falling into the water.
- Finally, there are “water immersion wristbands” pool alarms that trigger an alarm at a base station when the wearer gets wet. Water immersion wristbands and sensors are available for children, pets and even adults.
Make Pool Safety a Priority
A backyard swimming pool can provide years of family fun, but homeowners should make pool safety their first priority and take all the steps necessary to protect children, guests, pets and even trespassers. Layers of protection work best, beginning with a pool fence equipped with a gate alarm; next, a door alarm on every household door that opens to the pool area; and finally, a pool alarm that serves as the ultimate backup alert to signal you and neighbors if someone falls into the water.