New baby - need fence?

chuckill

Member
Jul 15, 2008
9
austin, tx
Hi there,
my wife and i had our first baby 5 months ago! before she was born everyone was always asking what are you going to do about your pool? well, i guess it's about time to start asking myself that question. I've still got a few months before she is really scootin' around, but i wanted to start gathering ideas now. i've done some searching on the internet and at my local hardware stores, and i know i can put up something simple pretty easily. i would love some feedback from any of you out there with toddlers or kids. any advice on fencing? i guess another option is to skip the fence all together and just put an alarm on my back door.

thanks in advance..
 

Miranda

Well-known member
Jan 20, 2008
161
Northeast Florida
In 20 years in law enforcement, I saw dozens of small children drowned. Nearly all of them had attentive, loving families who adequately supervised their children and took protective measures, but it only takes a moment's distraction, a gate left open, a single mistake. The most common scenario was a child who wakes in the morning or from a nap and wanders to the pool while the parent sleeps or does housework, unaware the baby is not still safe in bed. A vacuum drowns out a baby monitor or door alarm. It affected me so deeply that I did not even consider having a pool myself until my children were tall enough to have their heads above water with their feet at the bottom, and took swimming lessons. That being said, I would recommend BOTH the fence and the alarm. In most areas, code requires both anyway. The link below is an article from TODAY's paper, where two children drowned in a neighbors fenced pool.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010 ... ngton-pool
 

Theo

Well-known member
May 17, 2010
47
GTA Ontario
Our new house has a pool and we have 2 young children (4 & 7) that have been in swimming lessons since they were infants, but are not strong swimmers yet. I can't put all my faith into a single system, so this is what will be in place before we move in.

1) Education - I'll put the fear of God into my kids and any visitors regarding adherence to the pool rules. This only works some of the time, and is ineffective with very young children. Punishment for not adhering will be draconian (but not corporal :hammer: ), whether it's my kid or not.

2) Supervision - They will not be allowed in the pool area without an adult. Again, only works some of the time. There are a lot of "what ifs" that this doesn't cover.

3) The yard is enclosed by a 6' perimeter fence with a self closing gate. This is mandated by law, common sense and pretty effective in keeping wandering kids away from the pool.

4) All doors leading from the interior of the house to the backyard have separate latches that are out of reach of the kids. This should be very effective, as long as we keep them latched.

5) We are installing a mesh pool fence to further enclose the pool http://www.allsafepool.com/pool-fences/pool-fence This will an added barrier to keep wandering kids out, but is removable in a few minutes when it isn't necessary (pool parties with out kids). This is the last line of defense.

6) Kiddy alarms. If they're in the yard they'll wear an alarm that sounds if the break the surface of the water. I'm not going to rely on this to keep the kids out of harms way, but like an air bag in a car it will be nice to have if it's ever needed.

This stuff won't be inexpensive but a friend put it to me this way, "How much would you pay to get your child back if an accident did happen?"
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,720
Houston, Texas
When you fence your pool be sure to use materials that do not block the view of the pool. A wood fence is fine for the perimeter of the yard by you do not want to use it around the pool. You will not be able to see if a child is in the pool area. If you decide to use the metal pickets, you should zip tie plexi-glass all around the outside of the fence. This will prevent a small child from climbing over or through the pickets. Use an extra latch on the exit doors, a self closing latch on the gate, and attach chimes or bells to each door. Secure any doggy doors if you have them. If you have furniture around the pool, make the fenced in area large enough to accommodate the furniture. Do not leave anything outside the fenced area that could be moved and used to climb over a fence.
 

mdbuilder

Member
May 9, 2009
24
I did the aluminum fence around our pool myself 3 summers ago. Purchased the fence over the internet, hired a company to core drill the holes then I did the install and concreting myself.
 

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defpool

Member
Aug 24, 2010
8
Austin, Texas
Hey chuckill, please post if you had any good local contacts for pool fence installation. We're in Austin too, and just bought a house with a pool.

We've researched online a little, and are leaning towards the mesh fencing. We are also doing exactly what Theo recommended, door/kid alarms, inaccessible deadbolts to exterior doors, supervision, etc., in addition to a fence.

thanks, Dianne
 

Taz

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 6, 2010
80
NE FL
Our pool, patio and enclosure were intended to be an extension of our living area. We decided to use a pool guard baby fence ($15 a linear foot installed) to section off the pool from the house within the enclosure rather than alarm 3 windows and our patio door as required. Plus our enclosure doors are outside of the pool area sectioned off by the pool guard fence perimeter pool, so even it someone got into our enclosure (60 inch high latches) there would be the mesh fence as an extra layer of security wrt liability (besides a 6 ft fence perimeter fence that was not up to code).
Other reasons:
- We can put a dog door in the enclosure & still meet code
- I don't have to worry about my dog falling in or a visiting child somehow making his way when we aren't out there or during the non-swimming months.
Finally, the impression I got from various folks (at least those without small children) is that they removed the battery/disarmed the alarms after the inspection. That seemed wrong to me. Plus, the alarms seemed to be poorly made.
Cheers - Taz
[attachment=0:uicphn44]pool_guard enclosure.jpg[/attachment:uicphn44]
 

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AustinChad

Bronze Supporter
Jun 6, 2007
21
In addition to the fence and other safety precuations, I highly recommend ISR training for your infant. Our (now) 19-month old twins took them this summer and can now flip over on their backs to breathe, turn over on their tummies to kick/swim, and really get a lot more out of their experience in the pool. The instructor we took from (in Austin) was great. It's an intensive program -- 5 days a week for 6 weeks, but only 10-minutes per lesson -- but it's really amazing to see how well they move in the water now. If you want any additional information, send me a PM, and I can give you the details.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
I put both mine (1 and 4) in at the y at 6 months. Obviously the 1yo cant swim yet, but my 4 yo can swim the length of the pool with no bubble. Would i leave the outside unattended, no way. But he can get out of the pool if he fell in.
 

Shane1

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
621
Buckeye, AZ 85326
Congrats on the new baby! :cheers:
Here are some snips from the Arizona pool barrier code: Top of the fence must be at least 5' above grade, no opening large enough for a 4" diameter ball to fit through, self closing and latchting gates, all fencing and gates must be a non climbable (example: chainlink is climbable) any climbable structure must be at least 54" away from the fence.
I personally dont feel that the mesh barriers make the list because they are removable. Alarms are fine but the alarms can be turned off and forgot about. You will also need self closing hindges on any door that leads to the pool.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
Shane1 said:
. Alarms are fine but the alarms can be turned off and forgot about. .
If the alarm meets code, the only way it can be turned off is by removing the battery. If they are installed to code, they will go off every time the door is opened if the button is not pushed and the door is not closed behind you. And, the box is set at 54 inches. A kid cant reach it. If they are old enough to reach it, then they are old enough to know how to swim.
 

gullzway

Well-known member
Nov 12, 2009
113
Tulsa,OK
I have considered one of these safety fences myself.

The question I have is "What keeps a 4+ year old from lifting one of the small, lightweight poles out of the ground just as easily as an adult can?"
 

Theo

Well-known member
May 17, 2010
47
GTA Ontario
When the poles are under tension they are difficult to remove. It's only after you remove the clips along the top of the fence that you can easily pull the poles out.
 

learthur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Sep 9, 2008
243
The Woodlands, Texas, USA
We had the mesh safety fence installed know the rest of the yard is available for kid play. Also the gate and latch are key. It must be self closing in a reliable way and not available for children to open. When installed, a mesh fence is under considerable tension and very difficult for me to release the tension. The poles do not come out when under tension.

Alarms have varying quality. Your home has multiple doors. Neighbor kids could enter your backyard. Ultimately you need a reliable fence with visability dedicated to the pool.