I know of a man who shall remain nameless. A man whom will forever feel the most terrible pain a man can feel.
He was a great father. A responsible father. A caring father.
On a warm summer day, as the caring father he was, he went out to play in the sandbox with his 3 children of 12, 8, and 3 years of age. As they played in the sun, the phone rang. He had left his mobile on the counter. He was still close enough to hear it and so it would only take him perhaps 30 seconds to retrieve it. He told his two oldest to keep an eye on their younger brother.
He walked quickly inside, answered the phone and walked back outside. As he reached the sand box, he noticed his youngest was no longer there. He asked the oldest two where he was and they shrugged while they continued to play. He looked around the yard quickly but could not see him.
A wave of panic took over him, he dropped the phone to the ground and ran over to the pool. He couldn’t of possibly made it inside the pool, after all the gate was closed and locked. But still, he should be sure.
No more than 2 minutes could of passed from the moment he walked away from the san box to grab his phone inside…And as he reached the pool his heart broke never to be whole again. His 3 year old was at the bottom of the pool. He had already stopped fighting. The good father threw himself over the side of the pool and pulled his young one out while the oldest dialled 911. He was a responsible father, and as such he knew how to perform CPR.
I know of a man who shall remain nameless. A man whom will forever feel the most terrible pain a man can feel: The death of a child.
That day a 3 year old boy, with two responsible, loving, and caring parents passed away. And it took less than 2 min. It is our job to be vigilant and to never let our children out of sight. But mistakes happen. Children are quick on their feet. The father may as well have turned his back a moment to push another child on a swing and the same could of occurred.
Do you feel 100% sure that this would never happen to you? Are you 100% sure that this would not happen to your spouse? What about your mother, your babysitter, or your sister?
Pool safety begins and ends with vigilance but in between, there are many safeguards you can use to make your home safer outside of pool time (this is a different subject entirely).
- Fences and Gates: fences and gates should ideally not be see through to attract children to the water. Gates should not be easily climbable such as those made out of metal wiring. Gates made of spaced out bars should be no more than 4 inches appart and at least 4 feet high.
- Padlocks: Your pool gate should have a lock on it at all times when it is not in use. Choose a number lock so that your children may not simply grab the key.
- Alarms: there are a wealth of alarms that you can purchase for additional safety.
- Gate alarms: These alarms will ring when a child opens the gates without deactivating it first. These alarms often also ring if a gate is left open inadvertently. When choosing such an alarm consider if you want the alarm to ring outside only or inside of your house, or on your phone. Soma alarms will only be triggered after a few seconds of delay. How long do you think it could take your child to fall or jump into the pool?
- House door and window alarms: Many alarm systems now offer not only alarms that will ring when your system is activated but also a tonality or voice alerting you when a door or window has been opened even when the alarm is turned off. These can be great as they may let you know that a child or exploring toddler has opened a door or window leading to your yard or pool area.
- Water alarms: There are two types of alarms to place directly into your pool, those than ring as soon as a child or animal hit the surface of the water and those that ring when a child or animal reaches the bottom. Again with these alarms you may have the option of a signal only outside or inside your home as well.
- Child pool alarm bracelets: These systems are comprised of bracelets that you attach to your children wrist when they play outside. When the bracelet is submerged, the poolside alarm goes off. I don’t personally love these on their own without additional precautions because they only work if your child is wearing the bracelet and thus would not alert you if your child snuck out of the house. Additionally you only get alerted when the child is ALREADY in the water. Did you know, that it takes less than 30 seconds for a child to drown?
- Hard pool covers: These can be quite expensive and require a pump to drain rain water that accumulates on-top but can he highly effective.
- Swimming lessons geared at accidental submersions are a great investment and a good activity for you and your children. These courses begin as early as 6 months and introduce concepts to help young toddlers turn onto their backs and float.
It is your choice to decide on how many and which safety measures you will need for your pool and will vary depending on the age of your children, your yard layout, the type of gate that surrounds your pool and more.
Personally I have opted for:
- Door and window alarms
- Double gated stairs to the pool
- Full wood panel gates that cannot be climbed
- Gate alarm
- Water surface alarm
Seems excessive to you? Let me tell you this:
I will never regret having purchased these items if they ring just one time. Because that one time could destroy my family. However, I would regret it for the rest of my life if I had not installed them, and lost a child.