Swimming Pool Safety
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Swimming Pool Safety
We are wondering when we would feel comfortable taking down our
pool fence. The backyard just isn't as attractive with it up
and we have an 8 y/o who is a compentent swimmer - not swim
team-but can swim. I know that there are legal issues should
some other child come into the yard, but we are more concerned
about our own child accidentally falling in when outside. I
would love to hear from pediatricians and the like as to what
the customary response is these days.
My father's realtor's nephew just died last week by falling into the neighbor's pool.
The babysitter got distracted and he wandered into the next door neighbor's yard
and fell into their pool (with no fence) and drowned. I don't know the legal issues,
but I would urge you to leave the fence up. A pool is a very dangerous thing to small
children, and safety precautions should be taken.
You should probably check with the city, but I would think that
you need some kind of fence around your yard or pool, no matter
who is living in the house--do you ever have small children to
visit? Are there kids in the neighborhood who could wander
into your yard?
You might not be so worried about other children coming in to your yard and
drowning in your pool, but I am. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and every summer at
least one child died in that community from drowning in a pool -- often one who had
wandered in from next door. And personally, my child would have to be much older
than 8 before I would stop worrying about their safety around the pool, even if they
know how to swim.
a stickler for pool safety
I think it is very irresponsible for you to take down the pool fence, even if your 8
is a good swimmer. Kids from the neighborhood might try to swim and could drown
and it is never a good idea for even a good swimmer to consider swimming alone
which could happen. I read in freakanomics that if you have a gun in the house with a
swimming pool, the odds are that a drowning would occur more often than an
accidental shooting. I also have very close friends of my family whose grandson fell
into a pool and he has been disabled his entire life. It was a devastating thing to
family. Much worse than an ugly fence.
keep that fence up
How about never. Or maybe you could get the super duper strong
automatic pool cover and be super vigilant about closing it.
My family including 15 month old babe will soon be vacationing
in a home with an unguarded pool. Besides constant baby
surveillance (by momma who's afraid no one else could watch as
closely) what do you suggest to keep baby safe? The pool is way
too large to use some sort of gate. Do i keep water wings on
her the entire time? or some sort of life vest? Swimming
classes? (We leave on June 19)
Your note made me think of a situation that happened to us just
this summer. My daughter is 5 years old and a better swimmer
than me. We spent 4th of July at a lake at family. She was
playing on a floating dock with cousins and fell off of it into
the lake twice that day while adults were around.
The 2nd time she fell in, I was about 3 feet away and had my
back turned for a moment. The scary thing is that I didn't even
hear it. The way she fell in was about as loud as someone
dropping a coin into the water. Luckily she didn't panic and
swam back to the dock just fine.
My understanding with floating devices and water wings is that
they alone are not enough and even the manufacturers recommend
adult supervision. I guess my point is that these things can
happen so fast and so quietly, that you don't want to take any
My feeling is with any child under 3 or 4, you have to be in the
water with them even if they have floatie type things on. With
my daughter, we still have an adult in with her.
Mom of a Swimmer Who Fell In
Keep a lifevest on your child (the kind that has the strap
between the legs, and which cannot be slipped out of) and have
her mother stay with her at all times, even in the house. Kids
are so incredibly fast, and bad things can occur in a short
Nanny wishing you a safe trip
We will be visiting my in laws this summer with our just barely 2 year old. My in laws
have an unfenced back yard swimming pool. While the adults are good a closing and
locking the doors, my young nieces will be there and are not as reliable. What can I
to make sure she is safe? Has anyone used the Safety Turtle wrist band system? Any
- Scared of the Water
I haven't tried the Safety Turtle myself, but I do remember
that Consumer Reports tested it out and was not impressed with
it as a safety solution for pools. The (very brief) report is
Instead, what about talking to your in-laws about increasing
the security of the fence itself? You might try an burgular-
style alarm that sounds anytime anyone opens the fence. Or
maybe just lock it with a key/padlock during the period of your
visit, so that an adult (instead of your nieces) has to open
it, and can ensure that it gets re-closed.
Oh, honey! This is not some buy-an-easy-solution and it'll all be
OK. You need to be within grabbing distance of your toddler every
moment you're in that house, and have him wear a life jacket when
he's outside, even if you're there too. There have been three
toddler drownings in Antioch in the last six months alone -- the
last was just last week when a not-quite 2-year-old toddler
opened the sliding glass door *herself*, toddled out and fell
into the pool.A fourth child, a Brentwood 5-year-old, was
successfully resuscitated. Don't mess around.
We recently successfully used the Safety Turtle for a rented
vacation house with an open pool. Three cousins aged 4, 2 and
1.5 wore the wrist/ankle bands (with some persuasion and
focused convincing) 24 hours a day the whole time we were
there. Once they got used to them they were no problem. We of
course still supervised everyone, but it took a huge amount of
stress out of the equation knowing that the alarm would sound
if they fell or jumped in. The system works well - we tested
it. You just have to take it off to wash their hands and make
sure they don't suck on it, like my two year old was prone to
do - he had to wear it on his ankle instead. There is no
missing the alarm - it's LOUD.
Dear Scared of the Water – I completely understand your fear and it is a healthy
Based on your concern, you probably know that drowning is the 2nd leading cause
of unintentional death for kids in the US. In states with warmer weather and
swimming pools, it is the number one cause of death for kids under age 5. For
every child that drowns, four more are hospitalized for near drowning.
Young children like yours are especially at risk—they’re curious and like to
and that’s great for their development, but we need to make sure they do so in a
I have a background in pediatric injury prevention. The way to prevent injuries
have both adult supervision and a safe environment. You don’t say where you live
but I would strongly encourage your in-laws to install a fence around their
ground swimming pools without complete four-sided isolation fencing are 60
percent more likely to be involved in drowning than those with four-sided
I work at Home Safety Services, a Bay Area company that conducts in-home
assessment and installation of safety products to reduce injuries for kids and
seniors, but we also install removeable pool fencing. Our website is
www.homesafety.net if you want more information.
On a personal note, I had a colleague who worked in injury prevention, actually
preventing drowning. Her young child died from drowning in the pool at a family
party because everyone thought someone else was watching the child, and someone
left the sliding glass door opened, and there was no fencing around the pool. I
never forget that story – a horrible, horrible tragedy, which probably could
been prevented had there been a designated adult supervisor and a fence around
I don’t know anything about the Turtle. I did look on their website and my
is that the alarm sounds AFTER the child is in the water. Childhood drowning and
near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds. While the turtle might be
than nothing, active, constant supervision in conjunction with fencing are
recommended when children are around water.
It is great that you are thinking about this before your trip. I don’t mean to
alarmist but your fears are well founded.
if you have any questions. For more information about water safety, check out
www.safekids.org. Take care,
Which is more dangerous? A gun in the house or a swimming pool? The answer- a
swimming pool. If you are in such a situation it is far more likely that your
drown in the pool than they will be harmed by a firearm.
You wouldn't take your child to a house with guns lying around? Yet you will
such false safety measures as a ''pool turtle'' as a safety measure. My
don't even have a fence around the pool. Don't let her out of your sight/reach
for even a second.
don't let her drown
At what age did your children start using floatation devices in
the pool (with supervision, of course)? My daughter is almost
2 and is very comfortable in the water. I am wondering if she
could use those water wings or some other kind of flotation
device to keep herself afloat and also to paddle around the
pool while we swim with her.
I take my 16m son to swim classes at the YMCA. The instructors
teach us parents how to properly use flotation devices with
infants and toddlers and what is not safe as well. Plus they
give us great tachniques, games, and ideas about how to safely
and efficiently hold our babies and swim with them in the water
so that they can become competent little water babies, blow
bubbles, kick their legs, etc...Really fun and the water is WARM!
I'm not a fan of these devices--when I was a lifeguard, the only
kids I ever saved from drowning were the ones whose parents used
these habitually. The problem was that the kids didn't know they
couldn't swim--so if Mom turned her back for a minute by the
poolside, the kids would jump back in without the floaties and
sink like rocks. I saw it happen again and again, and on one
occasion had to hand off the dripping kid in order to resuscitate
the hysterical parent.
I suggest that if you use flotation devices with your non-swimmer,
you also go in sometimes without them, and give your child the
experience of feeling what the water is really like. Even if it's
a bit scary and your child clings to you--give her a taste of
swimming without floaties, for her own sake.
If you can by-pass using any flotation devices for your child
then I would do that. Our oldest never used any water wings or
anything else and is a great swimmer now at 4.5 years. Then we
had twins. In order to avoid having one of the twins
inadvertently sink to the bottom of the pool we put them in
water wings (they are now 2.5 but we started them in the wings
last summer at 1.5). One loves the wings and the other wants
to swim on her own now.
Can anyone recommend a source for very, very, very
childproof pool covers? We are even willing to drain the
pool and cover it up for many years. Someone told me
she'd seen photos of a pool cover that kids could even
ride their bikes on -- sounds good to me! If it matters,
what we're dealing with is a 50-foot lap pool. Thanks!
As an alternative to covering up a pool, . . . any ideas
what would be involved (workwise, permitwise, moneywise)
in FILLING IN a 50-foot lap pool? Thanks!
If you are willing to consider pool fencing, try ''Protect a
child pool fencing''. It is made of some type of mesh, held
together by tension, and can be removed at a later date when
your children are proficient swimmers. We installed two of
these fences at both grandparents' houses. We requested the
special butterfly locks that even our five year old cannot
undo.Of course, short of filling in the pool with concrete,
nothing will be 100% (a child can drown in a bucket of water
if left unattended) but, as a very saftey conscious person
and overprotective mother, I have been happy with this type
of fence. Try to find the company online or thru the tunnel
in Walnut Creek, LaMorinda area where pools abound. We have
friends in that area with three children and the same
fencing. Ask for the butterfly locks.
I don't know if you would be willing to consider
fencing. My husband and I had fencing installed at
both grandparents' houses. The company is called
''protect a child pool fencing'' The fencing can be
taken down at a later date when your children are
proficient swimmers. It is some type of mesh, held by
tension. We requested the special butterfly locks
that even our five year old can not undo. Of course,
around the pool, nothing is completely 100 % secure
(can be accidently left open, etc.) but children can
also drown in a bucket of water if left unsupervised.
I am overprotective and paranoid about safety issues
and have been pleased with this type of fencing. Try
to find the company online or thru the tunnel in
Walnut Creek area.
I am seeking input on the best way to baby proof a pool.
We are in the inspection period for our dream house. There
is only one issue, it has a pool & it is freaking me out
since we have two young children.
Can anyone give any input on the permanent fences vs. the
newer fences that can be taken down? Are both a fence & a
pool cover required? Our kids are taking swim lessons
(although I'm certainly not relying on this) & we will be
putting high locks on our doors. But, in a perfect world I
would like the kids to be able to play outside unsupervised
at times. If there is a fence, can the kids play in the
yard by themselves?
I'd appreciate any thoughts on pool security.
For kidproofing, a fence is never enough. Learning to swim is never enough.
alarmed water sensitive T- shirts won't do it either (they take them off).
You need to do all
those things and also remain constantly paranoid. Of the three children I
knew well who
have drowned - one was from the days before pool fencing and the other two
at other people's houses. The one without the fencing was my four year old
cousin, who had
been taught to swim the summer before, but watching the pool being refilled
in spring, bent
over too far. One of the more recent ones was revived because the pool-owner
alarm. The parents then had a year worrying that his slowness in starting to
speak was brain
damage. In the third case the pool-owner raised the alarm but it was too
late. Toddlers will
fall into any body of water that's available to them. My daughter at 2 could
climb any pool
fence, and never bothered with latches. Children up to the age of 8 need to
closely, and after that if they're poor swimmers.
if you have a pool you obviously have to be vigilant. one
solution is to get a swimming pool cover, with the key
installed at a height only an adult can reach. the pool is
only open when an adult is on duty: present and paying
attention. when the adult leaves, they close it up. the
covers are very strong, a child falling on it will not tear it.
I am very concerned about mosquitos (and west nile virus), and I
am very careful not to leave standing water around anywhere.
However, we have a little inflatable pool for our toddler, and I
really hate to empty it out every time we use it. I don't like
to waste the water, and I like it to warm up over the course of
a few days, and I have noticed in the past that the racoons like
to walk through it with muddy paws if it is not full. So, my
question is, do I really have to empty it completely every
time? How about if I add a bit of chlorine to it? Would that
kill any larvae? What kind and how much would I add, and how
often? If I did add chlorine, would that then be really bad to
dump out on the grass every few days or so (I do empty it when
it gets too buggy and dirty anyway)? I do not want to harm any
wildlife, beneficial bugs, or the birds that eat them! I'm also
concerned about my son swimming in and accidentally swallowing
any mosquitos or larvae. What do others do with these pools?
We have a toddler pool in our yard as well and have decided
that filling it up each time and draining the water immediately
after our kids get out is the only way to prevent a drowning
accident. Obviously, I don't know where your pool is and
whether your toddler can access it without your help, but
before making the decision not to drain, I would run through
all the various scenarios to make sure there is no way your
child (or any other child) would try to get in while you aren't
watching. Small children can potentially drown even in only a
couple of inches of water, even if they can swim in a normal
pool, so I'd recommend extreme vigilance around this issue.
We empty the wading pool after every use, and make a game out of
using buckets to transfer most of the pool water onto the dry
grass or into potted plants. I am concerned not only about
critters getting into the water, which my daughter could swallow
(or worse, whose waste my daughter could swallow), but also
about drowning risks with other neighborhood children (or even
my daughter, in a moment of inattention).
Have you tried covering the pool at night with a tarp or
You don't need to change the water every day, it takes a while
for the larva to become mosquitoes. Changing it once a week
should be fine.
I have three comments:
1) Have you ever seen any mosquito larva in your pool? I have
always been under the impression that mosquito prefer stagnant
water, not fresh water. If there are larva, you will certainly see
2) I don't know if the chlorine or chloramines that are put in
municipal water is enough to kill the larva, but you could ask the
Alameda County mosquito abatement program.
3) Why not just put a cover on the pool? This would also make it
safer for toddlers who might play near the pool ( I have read that
toddlers can easily drown in just a few inches of water.)
Regarding the toddler pool standing water, I would leave it up
to a week without worry. We do, and we're still using it
extensively! You could add very small amounts of chlorine or
iodine, but I agree that if you repurpose it to water plants &
lawn, you don't want to harm them.
My greatest concern is small toddlers waddling into the pool and
drowning, and so it should be in a safe location.
Gary Bogue has a column in the contra costa times. he says
changing the water every 3 days is adequate for preventing
mosquitos. You can probably find his info on-line.
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