How to Safely Enjoy Your Pool This Summer
With the summer season fast approaching and the weather warming, jumping into a refreshing pool is at the forefront of many people’s minds. Summer is a great time to enjoy your pool; it can help you stay cool on the hottest of days, and it can be a great backdrop to a summer evening party.
It’s also imperative that you employ as many safety precautions as possible to keep kids, pets and even adults safe in and around your pool. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your pool more safe, from ensuring kids don’t swim unattended to installing a pool enclosure for pool safety.
Some Basic Pool Rules
Owning your own pool can have many benefits. It can be a place to exercise, to enjoy your family and to enjoy great weather. Pool safety must be a priority, however, when you have your own pool. There are several basic residential pool safety tips to reduce the risk of injury:
• Make sure there are no toys left near the pool, especially toys with wheels.
• Ensure no running or horseplay occurs on the pool deck.
• Never leave children unattended in or near the pool.
• Educate children on basic water survival techniques.
• Ensure those that don’t know how to swim are wearing proper floatation devices or have easy access to them.
• Make sure pets know how to swim before they are allowed near the pool.
• Don’t allow diving in shallow water.
• Use a floating safety rope to help distinguish the shallow end of the pool from the deep end.
Make sure anyone who uses your pool is educated on safety rules. This will help to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that is critical when safety is at stake.
Creating a Safe Pool Environment
In addition to ensuring swimmers follow rules, there are also many steps you can take to create a pool environment that is safe as well. Some common ways include:
Proper fit of pool and spa covers. Ensure the cover adequately fits your pool or spa. An ill-fitting one could make it easier for someone to become trapped if they should accidentally fall into the water. A pool cover with a lock may also be a good option.
Regular maintenance of pool and spa covers. Regularly inspect your pool or spa covers for signs of wear and tear like cracking or rips in the material. Also, after a heavy rain, ensure no standing water remains on the cover for any length of time. The added weight of the water can create extra strain on the cover, making it wear out faster and also reducing its effectiveness and safety.
Ensure pool chemicals are properly stored. Pool water contains a delicate balance of chemicals to help keep it clean, but it’s imperative these chemicals are properly stored when not in use. Once they pass their expiration date, you’ll want to ensure they are replaced. Keeping the chemicals in an environment where they shouldn’t be, like extreme temperatures, can also render them ineffective. However, keeping pool chemicals in an area where children can access them can be detrimental, too. By making sure your pool chemicals are properly stored, your pool environment will be safer and the chemicals will be ready for use when you need them.
Regularly inspect drains and drain covers. Drains are important for pool function, but they can also be a safety nightmare if not correctly addressed. It’s possible for people to become trapped. Make sure all drain covers fit correctly and that there are no missing pieces, like screws. Should there be trouble, be sure to know where the emergency shutoff is and how to operate it.
Consider using a pool alarm. These devices can be extremely valuable for pool safety, and there are a variety of options. For example, there are varieties where children wear actual wristbands, and if they fall in the water, the alarm is triggered. There are also options that float on top of the water or are secured to the side of the pool, and when the water is disrupted, the alarm sounds.
Use nonskid material where possible. Pool decks, pool stairs or ladder steps can be particularly treacherous when wet. Slips can lead to falls or injury. Using a nonskid material on these pool areas can help reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
Have a pool safety kit easily accessible. Sometimes, even despite your best efforts, a problem requiring immediate action may occur. To help expedite your reaction time, ensure a pool safety kit is nearby and ready. Some things to include in your kit are: scissors to cut clothing or hair, a stocked first aid kit, floatation device and a phone to contact paramedics — your cellphone will likely work for this as well.
Install fencing around your pool area. A fence with locking gates can exponentially increase the safety of your pool area. Specifically, a four-sided enclosure like a fence, or even a fully contained pool enclosure building, can help reduce the risk of children drowning or being injured in a pool by up to 83 percent. An enclosure can help ensure children and pets cannot gain access to your pool area, as well as other unwanted pool inhabitants. There are some specifics you will want your pool fence to comply with, however:
1. It should be at least 4 feet high and not have any footholds or other features that may make it easy for a child to climb. In many cases, a fence 5 feet or taller is considered ideal.
2. If there are vertical slats, there should be no more than 4 inches between them.
3. Ensure any gates are in proper working order and are secure. You’ll also want them high enough where young kids can’t reach them. At least 54 inches is a good rule of thumb.
4. Chain link fencing is actually not recommended in most cases for a pool since it can be so easy to climb. However, if you end up going with chain link or a fence with horizontal slats, ensure the gaps are no larger than 1 3/4 inches.
Pool Enclosures for Pool Safety
There are also other ways to make your pool more safe for all who use it. If you’re not too keen on having a fence surrounding your pool space, you may want to consider a pool enclosure. These are completely enclosed with walls and a roof, basically creating a room for your pool.
Pool enclosures greatly enhance the overall pool experience and pool safety for the following reasons:
• They are often more secure than fencing as they cannot be climbed. Sometimes, even with all precautions taken, someone may still find a way to climb your pool fence and enter your pool. With an enclosure, there is little chance of it being scaled.
• They can make the pool area itself more secure. Since the pool area is now completely enclosed, and most pool enclosures have the option of including a locking door, the area becomes increasingly secure even from the inside. It becomes easier to keep the people you want in and those you don’t want out.
• They can increase your peace of mind. You can rest a little easier when your children are outside knowing that the chances of them being able to enter the pool without you is drastically reduced with a completely enclosed pool area.
• Pool enclosures can reduce temperature extremes. If you have a pool or spa, you’ve likely experienced the chill of the surrounding air when you’ve left the warmth of the water. With a pool enclosure, you can minimize the shock to your system as it becomes easier to control the environment. The enclosure area stays warmer, meaning the temperature spread between air and water can be reduced.
• They can increase the duration you can use your pool. In many cases, outdoor pools can only be used when the weather is warmer, and they must be drained during the winter to avoid freezing or other complications. With a pool enclosure, it may be possible to use your pool year-round since the pool environment can be controlled and monitored. So, you could be sitting poolside in the middle of winter.
• They can make a pool easier to maintain. Outdoor pools are subject to the elements: precipitation, temperature fluctuations, debris and more. If your pool is open to the environment, it makes it easier for debris like leaves and bugs to build up and eventually clog drains or filters. A pool enclosure protects the pool from these elements and makes it easier for you to maintain, and ultimately enjoy.
• Pool enclosures can increase the value of your property. Sometimes homebuyers may be leery of purchasing a home with a pool. However, a pool enclosure makes the pool area a much more valuable part of the property. It increases safety, makes pool maintenance much less time-consuming and can also coordinate with other buildings on the property, making it aesthetically appealing as well.
What to Look for When Choosing a Pool Enclosure
Safety is paramount when you’re looking for a pool enclosure. Even the materials you select for your enclosure can influence how safe it is. At the same time, you want to make sure your enclosure looks good and coordinates with your house, backyard or other environment.
When choosing a pool enclosure, things to consider include:
• The material for the walls. Screening and glass are often two major types of material used for the walls of a pool enclosure. Screening can be an effective way to enclose your pool, but it could be punctured or broken over time. Glass is usually a good way to go to ensure the durability of your enclosure, but you’ll want to make sure it is a tempered glass so that injury is less likely if it happens to break. Glass panels are also easier to clean as they can just be wiped with a cloth to dry off water that may splash onto it from the pool or even that builds up from humidity.
• The materials that make up the framing. The frame for your pool enclosure is important for obvious reasons, but the material must also be durable because it is exposed to the weather as well as the chemicals you use to treat your pool. Powder-coated aluminum works best in most cases because it’s strong, yet easy to transport and can withstand the elements as well as resist corroding.
• The materials for the roof. The roof is also an important part of the pool enclosure. You want to select a material that is durable, strong and also somewhat flexible, especially if you live in an area that is prone to weather conditions like heavy snowfall. Polycarbonate is a good option when looking at roofing materials because it is strong, but is more flexible than glass can be.
• You can choose either a solid construction roof or a retractable roof. A solid construction roof means all parts are attached and they stay where they are regardless of the weather. With a retractable roof, you can create an open enclosure should the weather be favorable, and then close the roof once the weather turns. Either roof structure provides adequate safety and security for your pool.
• Ensure you pick a style you are happy with. Pool enclosures are customizable, and their designs can match the colors, shapes, or any other feature you may want to coordinate with the rest of your property. You will hopefully be looking at this structure for a long time, so be sure it is a design that will suit your needs and your style.
Having a pool at your home can add enjoyment and value to your property. It can be an area where an abundance of family time and gatherings can occur. To make sure your pool can be enjoyed to its fullest, however, it’s imperative that safety is a priority for all pool operations and in your pool environment.
At CCSI, we strive to provide the highest-quality structural components and custom designs so your pool enclosure is an aesthetically appealing and safe piece of your pool experience. Contact us when you’re looking for a pool enclosure for pool safety.