Carbon monoxide detectors in your home? Smoke detectors? Security alarms and maybe even some lasers? You might have some or all of those things. But what about on the outside? In your pool? Why a swimming pool safety alarm? According to drowning statistics, it can take a little as two inches of water for a child to drown. Most drownings take place at home with one or both parents supervising and the child had been seen within 5 minutes before drowning. Swimming pool alarms are great if you have a pool, children or pets, or your neighbor has children or pets. While adult supervision is the best protection against children drowning, who can be "on" all the time? Even a quality pool door alarm is better than nothing.
I saved one older man from drowning in the hot tub when I was the pool operator for the YMCA. I also assisted a lifeguard in saving an unconscious 5 year old who was accidentally kicked in the head. He was floating face-down about 2 feet below the surface. I take pool safety very seriously.
Absolutely nothing beats the watchful eye of a responsible parent or guardian. Proactive parenting/supervising is the most important part of preventing child drowning. When your're using the pool, being a responsible parent/supervisor means sitting by the pool and giving your full attention to activity around you. This means no reading or texting. Watch the pool and your swimmers.
Let's face it. We have cameras and security systems all over the place. Our cars have locks. Our homes have lights and security devices. Some windows have alarms. Our computers have passwords. We even have little useless locks on our suitcases. Why then wouldn't we want some type of alarm system for our pools? It just makes sense, doesn't it? And every single world-wide pool related accidents is completely preventable.
There are several alarms from which to choose. This section will cover what is known as "layers of protection" which encompasses both alarms and other protective devices.
These are magnetically triggered alarm sounds when the window or door is opened. Many times they emit sounds up to 120 decibels. The alarm sensors are placed on left or right side of of the door. Some door alarms include a chime setting to give you options for the alarm sound you want.
High locks should be installed on all doors and windows. Far enough to be out of the reach of curious young ones. Locks out of the reach of children should be installed on every door and window that lead to the pool area. Children are resilient and can figure things out pretty quickly when they see how to do it. Yes, they can figure locks out so make sure the locks are high enough so little hands can reach them. And this goes for securing your doggy door as well.
A self-locking safety pool fence is yet another layer of protection we have. The main focus is to isolate the pool in the backyard. A good safety fence should be at least 4' high and be self-closing and self-latching. You can also install a pool gate alarm that emits a high-pitch squealing noise.
Swimming pool alarms with surface wave/water motion sensors work when someone or something gets into your pool and the water is displaced which causes ripples on the water surface. The surface wave sensors catch this water movement and measures disturbance in the water. When the moving water trips the sensors, they emit a high-pitch sound.
These types of swimming pool alarms can be considered a permanent fixture and safety feature. The sensor arm is placed down into the water and monitors for water variations and disturbances.
Safety wristbands are designed to alert parents if the child gets too close to the water, or actually falls in the pool. An alarm sounds to let you know your child is getting too close to the pool, or has already fallen in.
The importance of swimming lessons cannot be overstated. During my time as the pool operator at the YMCA, I personally witnessed a few times where swimming lessons came in very handy. Children should receive professional swimming lessons from qualified instructors as soon as their parents feel comfortable. Contact your local Red Cross or YMCA to sign your child up for swimming lessons. And while you're on the phone with them, ask about their CPR classes.
Underwater sensor that sounds the alarm when an object 15 lbs. or over enters the water. Features for a pool side alarm can include:
Be sure to check your batteries each month. If you have any doubts as to the life of the batteries you should replace them. Most pool alarms will cover a 24 ft. round or a 16 X 32 oval swimming pool. If you have a larger pool, you may need laser alarms. Although these kinds of alarms are good, they are not perfect. If you plan on swimming or cleaning the pool you'll need to turn the unit off, which means you need to remember to turn it back on. Also, these kinds of units don't cover lakes, streams, play or kiddie pools.
With any kind of child water safety, you need to invest in a good child safety pool fence, a pool alarm, a swimming pool door alarm, and a safety pool cover. This may sound like a bit of over-kill, but the alternative is scary. You must have several layers of protection. A child's hug is precious. You don't want to miss a second of it.