Backyard Pools and Young Children

Jun 12, 2008
12
Columbia, SC
#1
Please forgive me if this topic has been addressed - I searched but couldn't find more than the usual information. I found this website a couple of weeks ago and have been lurking trying to learn all I can. Y'all really know your stuff! :-D

My husband and I have 4 young children: almost 6 yo, 4 yo, 2 yo, and 5 month old. We really want to get a pool but our main concern is the safety of our children. Obviously, they would not be allowed in the backyard without supervision. We have a 6-ft privacy fence with a lock and we have an alarm system that chimes when an exterior door is opened. If we get a pool, I plan on getting an alarm that sounds when the water surface is broken. I just wondered if any of you have additional advice/information about keeping young children safe with a pool in your backyard. Am I worrying too much or should we just be patient and wait to get a pool until our children are older?

Thanks!!! :)
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,177
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
#2
That's understandable, you do hear horror stories of children drowning in the family pool.

A locked gate around the pool itself is a good idea, they also sell pool alarms that sound when the water surface has been disturbed. Are you thinking Above Ground or Inground? There are many people who have pools and have never had safety issues. For obvious reasons you need to be 200% MORE alert than without a pool.

We got our AGP when our son was 1 1/2 yo. It had a ladder that had a removable outside section which was locked in the shed when the pool was not in use. You also have to make sure that no patio furniture or anything that can be used as a step stool to reach the pool can be moved by the kids. It really is just constant supervision, which may take time getting used to for some but is the ONLY method of prevention.

When an adult is not present, the kids are not allowed in the pool area. Even for adult potty breaks "Everybody out"....which always drew "AAAAWWWWW"....

Good luck with whatever you decide.
 
Jun 12, 2008
12
Columbia, SC
#3
Thanks for the quick reply! We were thinking in-ground with an attached spa. We've talked to 3 pb's but haven't made a final decision as to whether to go ahead and do the pool or wait.
 

cobra46

LifeTime Supporter
May 31, 2007
467
Rocklin, Ca
#4
I have felt a great relief now that both of my kids know how to swim. I don't have to be quite as vigilent with watching them around water.

It's only a few more years and all yours will be swimming like fish. In the mean time, use all means available to keep them out and warn you if they do do take an unexpected dip.
 

SeanH

LifeTime Supporter
May 31, 2008
65
South Jersey
#5
When we bought our current house 3-4 years ago, our kids were 12, 9 and 2. The first thing I did was have a "protect-a-child" pool fence installed. There are a couple different versions of it, but it's basically a 4' high fiberglass and nylon fence that is completely removable. I can take out 10' sections easily when we have a lot of people swimming, or I can just open the "gate" which involves rolling up 2 sections to make a 5' opening.

When we are not swimming, the fence is closed. While it will never replace proper supervision, it's nice to know that if someone goes in the back yard, there a greatly reduced chance of an accident.

I have actually hear of some areas that require an alarm or buzzer on any exterior door that leads to a pool area to alert you when a door is open.

Sean
 

branchop

LifeTime Supporter
May 27, 2008
79
North Carolina
#6
We got out pool when our oldest was 10 and the middles was 18 months (youngest was on it's way!). they are now 17, 8, and 6. We have never had a problem with our children breaking the pool rules. The younger ones cannot swim without an adult present (same rule as above) and the older cannot swim alone.

The problems we did encounter is friends coming over and wanting to swim. We've had to fish a couple out of the deep end that eased down there, but since we were out there, it wasn't much of an issue.

In all fairness we have had to fish our little ones out as well. They fell in while we were working in the backyard (I think they both did it when they were 2 or 3). However, since we were out there with them and saw it happen, it was nothing more than me having to change all my clothes and dry out my sneakers.

The key is to always be aware where your kids are, teach them the rules, attaching dire consequences. Nothing stinks more than to watch your entire family swim while you are up in your room because you didn't follow the rules.
 

ktdave

LifeTime Supporter
May 8, 2007
888
Katy, TX
#7
One extra thing that we did that has not been mentioned is put an extra latch up high on the door where the kids can't reach it. Just one of those simple hooks that drops into an eyebolt. We put these on each of the doors that opens to the backyard. We placed them as high as my wife and I can comfortably reach.
 

lovingHDTV

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2007
529
Round Rock, TX
#8
We put up a 4ft hight black rail fence with two gates that have latches on the inside of the gate. Our children could not undo the latches. Now that my youngest is 9yo and can swim I'm still glad we have the fence as friends, neighbors and cousins come to visit. It does provide some piece of mind.

I have an inground pool with attached spa. Personally I hate the spa and would never build a pool with one. Instead I would get a stand alone fiberglass spa. The main issue being the difficulty keeping it clean. Additionally, as it is not insulated it is not practical for me to keep it heated all the time so we don't end up using it much. Just my $0.02 :)

The good thing about it. It makes a great kiddie pool.
 
Jun 12, 2008
12
Columbia, SC
#9
Thank you so much for your replies! You are all giving me great advice and also setting my mind at ease.

LovingHDTV - you read my mind. My next post to the forum is going to be,"If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?" So, thanks for answering that question before I even asked it. :-D
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
#10
I wonder how many childrens lives have been SAVED by having a backyard pool? I don't think this is a statistic that can really be measured, but how many kids become strong swimmers in their backyard pools and then survive that trip to the beach and a rip tide or getting caught in some current in a river and were just able to swim out of it with little issue, or fallen off a dock or boat. The weaker swimmer just becomes a statistic somewhere else instead of a backyard pool.

My parents did the right thing when I was very young and got me into swimming lessons. I could swim confidently by the time I was in grade school. I don't have any memories of ever NOT being able to swim. I did however have friends that never did learn how to properly swim until years after high school. It still shocks me when I run across an adult non-swimmer.

Just a thought...
 

ivyleager

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 6, 2007
490
Raleigh-Durham,NC
#14
Belldiver said:
I wonder how many childrens lives have been SAVED by having a backyard pool? I don't think this is a statistic that can really be measured, but how many kids become strong swimmers in their backyard pools and then survive that trip to the beach and a rip tide or getting caught in some current in a river and were just able to swim out of it with little issue, or fallen off a dock or boat. The weaker swimmer just becomes a statistic somewhere else instead of a backyard pool.

My parents did the right thing when I was very young and got me into swimming lessons. I could swim confidently by the time I was in grade school. I don't have any memories of ever NOT being able to swim. I did however have friends that never did learn how to properly swim until years after high school. It still shocks me when I run across an adult non-swimmer.

Just a thought...
I don't know how many of you know this, but Michael Jordan is deathly afraid of water and can't swim....or at least he didn't at the time of his book printing years ago. He did make all his kids take swimming lessons, though.
 

brianspool

Well-known member
Aug 22, 2007
50
Powhatan VA
#15
One thing I haven't seen mentioned ... Don't put a main drain in your pool unless you really need one due to location or some other reason. If you have to have one, make sure you can turn it off and that it's always off when your kids are out there.

Good luck with your pool !! :-D
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
#16
ivyleager said:
I don't know how many of you know this, but Michael Jordan is deathly afraid of water and can't swim....or at least he didn't at the time of his book printing years ago. He did make all his kids take swimming lessons, though.
Michael Jordan doesn't need to swim, he just jumps over all the water...
 

newfool

Well-known member
Mar 21, 2008
81
Florida
#17
I happened across this really great link that would be a interesting read for you. Especially with the really small children. The part about "staging" made me especially nervous because a 4' barrier fence should do the trick, but they mention that it may not be enough. Look at what they say about surface break alarms. Scary.
Good luck on your build.

http://www.poolfence.com/safepool.htm
 

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
#18
Here's what we've come up with:

1) We have a privacy fence around our entire back yard. We are also in the process of installing a 4' glass panelled fence in between the house and the pool. We'll have 2 gates on it for access to both sides of the pool. The gates will be on springs, with autolatches, which means they can never accidentally be left open. If you do something similar, make sure you pick something see-thru, since when the kids are a bit older, you'll want to sit in the other area of the yard, and still keep an eye on them.

2) This is going to be controversial, but with small children that have been taught to swim, you have to be MORE careful around a pool. Small children that have been taught to swim will not have any fear of the water, which makes it even MORE likely that they'll end up in the pool. There have been studies that have looked at this, and often the sad result is that teaching kids water safety doesn't have any reduction on accidents. They have also found that children that swim excellently in the presence of an adult will often panic if they end up in the pool when you aren't around. Treat the pool the same way you would a fire. Even if you've told your child not to go near the fire, you still wouldn't trust them on their own with it, since as any parent will tell you, following instructions isn't their strong suit. With something as deadly as a pool (as it is to children) you can't take chances.
 
Jun 12, 2008
12
Columbia, SC
#19
newfool said:
I happened across this really great link that would be a interesting read for you.
http://www.poolfence.com/safepool.htm
Thank you for the link. That's scary stuff - that's why we're not even sure we want to go ahead and build a pool now.

Rob said:
1) We have a privacy fence around our entire back yard. We are also in the process of installing a 4' glass panelled fence in between the house and the pool. We'll have 2 gates on it for access to both sides of the pool. The gates will be on springs, with autolatches, which means they can never accidentally be left open.
This is something we're considering. Are you doing this yourself or having someone else install it? Who's the fence manufacturer?
 

chrisa

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 13, 2008
156
Ohio
#20
I also have little ones and when we moved here last summer they were 5yrs and 2 1/2yrs.
I made sure a fence was installed around the pool and safety lock on the self closing gate, before we even arrived to our new home. the yard was fenced but, I insisted we would not buy this house unless we installed another pool safety fence.

the fence looks great and everyone seems happy with it. Besides we just got a new puppy too and he seems to love swimmng....so it keeps his furry butt out too :)

Chris