Right now, we're in the middle of our pool build. You can follow all the fun and excitement here. At our last house, it was easy to put in a pool in the back yard and put up a wrought iron fence to completely isolate the pool...the only entry was through a gate that could be locked. This allowed us to worry a bit less about my toddlers finding their way into the water.
Due to the configuration of our current yard, there isn't a practical way to do this again. My twins are 4, so I still need to make sure they do not find their way to the water without our knowledge. However, they kids are getting older so I really only need a "temporary" solution for the next few years. Construction has begun, so I have a large dangerous hole in the back yard and our perimeter fence is missing a few sections for the next month or so.
My wife and I have thought about this quite a bit, and here is what we have implemented:
- Installed the door alarms, as required per code. My city requires this, but they "trust" that we actually do the installation. I have signed the papers saying I have done this, but we actually have installed the alarms. And let me tell you....they work! I'm glad we don't have any next door neighbors yet, because they would get annoyed every time we forget to hit the alarm bypass button when we open the door.
- I have changed the deadbolt locks on both exterior doors with direct access to the pool (rear door, garage service door) to require a key for both inside and outside. We then have a key mounted at a height of 6 feet near each door, so you have to intentionally pull down the key and unlock the deadbolt. My kids will be competent swimmers long before they are clever enough to figure out how to avoid this deterrent.
- Per code requirements, I have added auto-closure feature to outside gate and raised the handle to meet minimum height requirements. If the kids get out the front door, it won't be easy for them to enter the back yard through the gate.
This exhausts my imagination on how to minimize the danger associated with our small children and the pool. Each countermeasure has an automatic redundancy, so I feel somewhat better. The only other things I could think of would be to install a safety net or pool safety fence around the water. For various reasons, neither option is practical for our situation.
What have you guys done? Is there something else we should be considering? Anyone inspired by our recent safety actions? Please let me know.