Backyard Pools and Young Children

whoozer

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 2, 2008
633
Acton Maine
brianspool said:
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
I thought all pools had a deep end main drain??? Or am I calling it the wrong word?
 

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
rpaustin said:
This is something we're considering. Are you doing this yourself or having someone else install it? Who's the fence manufacturer?
We're installing it ourselves, and also building it ourselves, so no manufacturer. We looked at the temporary fences, but our daughter is only 8 months, so we'll need it for quite a few years, and even after, having the pool seperated from the house will be nice, so we decided to go permanent.
 

chrisa

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 13, 2008
156
Ohio
with the main drain worry....we have a very old pool with main drain in deep end (8.5') and with our update we are separating the line from the skimmer (right now skimmer and main drain on one line) and will be putting on the anti-vortex cover, these do help right?

chris
 

whoozer

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 2, 2008
633
Acton Maine
Whats the deal with the main drains???? I know I've heard of issues with to much suction from commercial pools but is this really a private pool issue?
 

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
whoozer said:
Whats the deal with the main drains???? I know I've heard of issues with to much suction from commercial pools but is this really a private pool issue?
I don't think its a case of worrying that the main drain will have enough suction to hold a child underwater. I think the worry is that something loose like their bathing suit gets pulled in and they get caught.

Pretty remote chance, but thats the only thing I can think of.
 

lovingHDTV

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2007
529
Round Rock, TX
My main drain has a grate over it that I can't even put a finger into, it is then plumbed through the skimmer, so I can't see how there could be that much suction on it either.

Maybe they can be plumbed directly back to the pump?
 

whoozer

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 2, 2008
633
Acton Maine
Yeah my old one had a cover on it with holes so small nothing could get stuck either.

I was just curious why it was mentioned. A new friend of mine had a little cousin that died recently because of her intestines being sucked out while sitting on a main drain in a kiddie wading pool. I assumed it was only an issue in shallow ends,commercial pools, or older pools without the right covers. She mentioned it to me but didn't really know anything about it.

I'm going through a new build and wanted to make sure the new standard wasn't an issue. If anyone knows anything else let me know. Thanks.

EDIT- PS Austin sorry for hijacking this thread..I'll stop now.
 

Maria

LifeTime Supporter
May 22, 2007
53
West Chester, PA
Here's what we did four years ago when we moved into this house with a pool with my daughter who was 2 and my son was 7.
*The yard was already fenced.
*The night we moved in, we put a simple hook and latch closure on the door to the outside at our arms' reach height.
*Immediately installed 4 foot child safety fence with SELF CLOSING, SELF LATCHING GATE. This was an extra $400 and worth every penny. The gate latch was high enough and hard enough to open (must pull up knob and pull gate toward you to get in). What I was told was that as my children grew my older child and/or friends might not close the gate as they came in and out of the pool, and when you need the gate closed you don't want to think about it. The cost for the fence and gate was about $3000. A lot of money, but worth every penny for the peace of mind.
*Locked pool gate when pool was not in use, hid key on high nail in garage.
*Reviewed pool rules on safety websites and followed them, especially during parties. (Have something that the responsible adult actually holds to take turns with watching the kids during a party.)
*We had no pool furniture around the pool deck light enough for a child to move over to the fence to use to climb over. Still don't!
*Kept my daughter in a swimming vest with a crotch strap until this year when she was certified "pool safe" at the end of private swimming lessons.

Most of these things were easy to do, and became habit.
Let me say that we LOVE having a pool, it's such fun and a healthy active way to spend the summer. And great for family play time.
Just do the things to make safety as automatic as possible, then enjoy!
 

venture996

Member
Jun 1, 2007
6
We have an automatic pool cover and love it. It keeps pollen, leaves and animals out of the pool. Reduces our chlorine usage significantly (I'd estimate more than 50%) and also reduces heat loss. And, most importantly, keeps our kids safe (and the neighbors kids out when we aren't home). This is our third year with the pool and so far it has been perfectly reliable. I suggest you look into one. Good luck.
 

Hotrod30

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Dec 22, 2007
504
Central New York
You can read any opinion about any subject on the internet.

Against main drains:

http://swimming.about.com/od/swimmingpo ... safety.htm

There are all kinds of ways to have a main bottom drain and still be safe.

Common sense.

A good bottom drain has a good cover that you would never run without it being on.

You can go to a duel main drain system.

You can have a valve on the main drain line and shut it off during swimming. Switch over to just skimmers.

You can have a pump that will shut down in one second if the drain is blocked.
Pentair's Model VF3050. (Great pump)

You can have a kill switch to the pump where everyone knows where it is.

IMHO... I love a bottom drain for my pool. I would never build a pool with a deep end without a main or bottom drain. BUT, I also have two skimmers and all three lines are on their own valves. I very rarely run with just the bottom drain operating.

Every pool accident involving a bottom drain that I have read about was at a public or hotel pool. I can only think of 2. Both were because someone took the cover off.
 

SeanH

LifeTime Supporter
May 31, 2008
65
South Jersey
lovingHDTV said:
My main drain has a grate over it that I can't even put a finger into, it is then plumbed through the skimmer, so I can't see how there could be that much suction on it either.

Maybe they can be plumbed directly back to the pump?
I have a main drain, a skimmer and a vacuum port. All three are run separately back to the pump/filter. I don't know if that's common or not as this is the only pool I've ever had.

Sean
 

dandjpool

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 25, 2007
65
Illinois
venture996 said:
We have an automatic pool cover and love it. It keeps pollen, leaves and animals out of the pool. Reduces our chlorine usage significantly (I'd estimate more than 50%) and also reduces heat loss. And, most importantly, keeps our kids safe (and the neighbors kids out when we aren't home). This is our third year with the pool and so far it has been perfectly reliable. I suggest you look into one. Good luck.
A automatic pool cover is the best bet for anybody with small children.
Once mine is closed I remove the key. An adult can walk on the cover once it's closed.

Unless your children have a knife, they aren't geting in the pool.

The only downside, I think you are restricted to a square pool.
 

tagprod

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2007
489
Tomball, Texas
I'm a big proponent of the Katch a kid system. Without a knife or the ratching system, nobody (adult or child) is getting in that pool. And if you're letting your 3 year old run around with steak knives - you got more problems then your kids drowning in a pool.
 

DeckSgt

Member
Jun 22, 2008
17
newfool said:
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
Thanks for this. It is hard to argue with facts, and I believe most people are actually shocked when they see the truth contained in these stats. In my line of work, the offshore oil industry, I have attended many hours of safety training, and have on more than one occasion encountered adults who could not swim, or had no first aid training. One has to believe that this lack of knowledge, coupled with complacency, could end in tragedy for children in their care. I have always believed that training and attitude are extremely important. Thank you again for this link, and let us all seek to educate ourselves further, and take a positive stand for safety.
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
On main drains: The main issue is not so much that a piece of clothing or a finger will get stuck in the hole (though that may have been a problem before the anti-vortex covers with the small holes), but that someone on the bottom of the pool can cover the entire drain cover and thus be suctioned too it. The near universal requirement for two main drains, separated by some distance (I think it's three feet), largely eliminated that potential problem. Anti-vortex covers are also almost universally required. If you have a modern double-drain main drain and anti-vortex covers, there is little risk from main drains.

On kids drowning in pools: I think we're missing some context here. There were only 493 drowning deaths in the 1-4 age range nationwide in 2002 (last year I could find complete statistics for). While each of those is a tragedy, it's far from epidemic (vehicle accidents cause many more deaths overall and about 25% more in that age range). In most cases, a lack of proper supervision was the cause of the drowning, not a lack of barriers or alarms. Those barriers and alarms should be considered a supplement to vigilant supervision, not a replacement for it. To the extent that those things give parents a false sense of security, they can actually be a negative.

Bottom line for me: Make sure your drains are up to contemporary codes and keep a close watch on your kids and you have little to worry about.
 

EskimoPie

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 27, 2007
278
Sahuarita, AZ
KurtV said:
There were only 493 drowning deaths in the 1-4 age range nationwide in 2002
Does it list a stat for 'near drownings'? I've heard these FAR out-number actual drownings and in most cases are nearly as bad since they often result in brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

I feel pretty safe (I know I shouldn't) with our pool. We have a brick privacy fence around our entire yard and the pool has a 5' wrought iron fence with a child-proof auto-latching gate around it as well.
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
EskimoPie said:
KurtV said:
There were only 493 drowning deaths in the 1-4 age range nationwide in 2002
Does it list a stat for 'near drownings'? I've heard these FAR out-number actual drownings and in most cases are nearly as bad since they often result in brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

I feel pretty safe (I know I shouldn't) with our pool. We have a brick privacy fence around our entire yard and the pool has a 5' wrought iron fence with a child-proof auto-latching gate around it as well.
Here's where I got those statistics.

I found 2005/6 statistics on CDCs website. For the 1-4 age group in 2005 there were 493 deaths while in 2006 there were 2,376 near-drownings (2006 death statistics not available yet) Of the near drownings, 469 were treated and released (probably not too serious), 93 were observed/left AMA/unknown (also probably not too serious), and 1814 were hospitalized or transferred (probably runs the gamut from somewhat serious to severe permanent damage). The CDC data isn't very granular (e.g. pool vs. natural waterways vs. bathtub isn't broken out nor can you get much detail on severity of injuries from near-drownings) but other sources indicate that about 2/3 of drowning deaths for that age group are in backyard pools and spas.

I think your implied criticism that the drowning statistics understate the problem is a valid one. Back-of-the-envelope calculations show that there are something like 330 drownings annually in backyard pools (2/3 of all drownings) and 1200 significant to very severe injuries from near-drownings. 1500+ is still a pretty small number in the grand scheme of things, but it's much bigger than the number I threw out earlier.

The bottom line is still the same: Your kids can't drown if you're watching them like a hawk, but a moment's inattention is all it takes for something bad to happen. Put up all the fences and alarms you want, but don't trust those devices to keep your kid safe; only you can do that.