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Pool Safety

People drown in pools and ponds, particularly of young children. Pool, spa and pond safety is both a moral and (often) a legal obligation, for anyone with a pond, swimming pool or spa.

Some people object to pool fencing, but unfortunately it is a necessity.
There are lots of choices though. Cost and appearance can vary greatly; so look around and choose the product that suits you. 

Different  Solutions
There are lots of different ways a pool or spa can be enclosed, including:
 
  • Enclosing it partially or fully with walls of the house, such as putting it in a courtyard, or in a stand alone, purpose built room. You need to ensure access from the house is restricted, including locked doors, bars or safety screens on doors or windows & self closing doors. 
  • Solid walls or fences. Solid timber or brick/stone constructions can be used although they must be 'unclimbable' to satisfy most council restrictions.
  • Purpose built pool fencing - the advantage here is that most of these fences are see-through which provides the added benefit of being able to see adults and children in and around the pool/spa.  They must however, not be climbable, which is why pool fences have few horizontal bars, and also the bars must be close enough to stop children squeezing through them, particularly toddlers. They are mainly constructed of timber or aluminium, and are available in a wide range of designs and colours that allows you to choose a fence that suits your house, pool & garden design and colour scheme.

Gates

As with fences any gates should be as “unclimbable” as possible, and be fitted with a childproof lock. Ideally they should also be self-closing. There are a wide variety of suitable gates in various designs and colours available from pool fencing specialists.

Legal Requirements For Pool Safety
Regulations do vary from state to state, and may also differ between local council areas. It is therefore essential that you check with your local authority on matters regarding pool safety. Additionally, the interpretation (and hence enforcement) of those regulations can also vary. Ask for clarification of anything you are not sure about.

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Improving The Appearance Of Your Pool Fence
Some people object to pool fencing for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. It can detract from the overall appearance of the garden -The extensive range of designs and colours now available for pool fencing allow you to choose a fence that can really complement your garden design.
  2. It can restrict access - The presence of gates and fences does slow down access around the yard and into the pool. It can also make general garden maintenance around the pool difficult especially in spots where there is little space between the pool fence and other structures. If you find the space contained within the pool fence too small and difficult to maneuver, then build the fence round a larger area surrounding the pool.
  3. It can be costly - It is not cheap to install a fence that complies with council regulations. The larger the area to be surrounded the more it costs, and a sloped or difficult piece of land may make the costs even higher. Consider, however, the alternative – how valuable is a life & how would you feel if someone drowned in your pool or spa because you hadn’t provided suitable fencing.

 

Ensuring Ongoing Safety
It is important even once you have installed suitable pool safety fences and gates that you continue to ensure that safe conditions are provided. Consider the following:

  • Regularly check the condition of fences, gates and doors to ensure they are in good condition, in particular that doors and gates are closing properly, and locks or catches are working properly.
  • Make sure nothing is planted against, or near enough to the fence that it might allow children to climb over the fence. Such plantings may contravene council regulations.
  • Make sure you don’t place objects, such as garden furniture or umbrellas, or grow plants, that will obscure your view of your pool from the house. Good visibility from main viewing areas in the house is very important. Despite all your prevention children might still get into the pool area. 
  • Don’t place any objects up against your pool fence, such as large potted plants or garden furniture. These can easily be used by children to climb over fences.
  • Make sure the you have a non-slip surface around your pool to prevent people from falling/slipping over and perhaps hitting their heads or falling into the water.
  • Never, ever leave young children unsupervised in the pool area (either in or out of the pool). It takes as little as 10 seconds for a child to drown. If you have to leave the pool area for any reason, such as going to the toilet or answering the phone make sure first that another adult is supervising the children, or take them with you.
  • During times when the pool or spa is not being regularly used cover it with a purpose built pool or spa cover. Choose a design that will not only help keep your pool cleaner, and warmer, but will help prevent children from getting into the pool or spa itself.

Safety In & Around The Pool
For added safety in pools you should look at planning the pool with:

  • safety hand grips on the sides;
  • ledge seats along the side of pool;
  • step arm rails to help people in and out of the pool; 
  • non-slip pool edges and surrounds; 
  • raise the sides of the pool above ground level to make it harder for toddlers to get in and fall into the pool;
  • mounting a CPR and Resuscitation poster within the pool fence area; and 
  • providing flotation safety devices within the pool fence area.  


Safety & Garden Water Features
Some local government authorities require that ponds and water features in the garden also be enclosed, similar to pools and spas. It is wise to contact your local authority to enquire if they have such regulations in place.

 

 

 

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