Swimming Pool Owner Safety

Updated on June 02, 2010
N.B. asks from Cottage Grove, MN
16 answers

Hi Ladies,

I'm looking for advice and pool safety. I bought my house 6 years ago, and it came with an in-ground pool. I love it, and knew someday I wanted children. From the very beginning I have put so much money into this pool to make it safe for everyone. My biggest and best investment was an automatic pool cover. A handful of grown men could walk on it, stand on it, and nothing would happen to the cover, it is very secure. I know my pool is safe when the cover is on it, BUT i'm concerened about when the cover is left open. I now have a 3 yr old and a 18 month old, and the thought of one of them by the pool without the cover on makes my heart sink. We have locks on the doors from the house to the backyard, but my 3 yr old knows how to unlock the doors and let the dogs outside. Nothing is safe anymore with my 3 yr old. Child locks are no longer locks just little object that get in the way, and are now easily moved out of the way. I’m looking for some pool alarm safety advice. Has anyone purchased any type of pool alarm systems before? Do they work? Has anyone tried the Safety Turtle device? What do you think about that system??

Thank you for any input about pool alarms!

: )

Sorry everyone for not telling you I have a fence around my pool. 6 ft privacy fence. State and city laws require one, so I didn't think to mention it.
The fence is a good thing, but again my super child can open and get into anything and everything...it seems. From the responses I have recieved I'm going to look into the door alarms on all the exit doors of our house. That should help out a lot. Thanks for the ideas :)

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answers from Milwaukee on

Also an inground pool owner and self proclaimed safety nut, I installed alarms on all of the door in the house. They are easily installed with velcro and are actually called window alarms (about $5 at True Value) but are very effective and very shrill! Step one, in keeping them away from an open pool!


answers from Jacksonville on

They make systems that are like a screen/fence that goes right around the pool itself. It involves putting the posts into holes in the cool decking, but I have friends who have done it and they have had no problems. You can remove it when you are using the pool pretty easily.

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answers from Dallas on

we don't have a pool alarm or a gate/fence around the pool. our 3 kids are 7, 4, and 1 - we do have a doorknob cover on the backdoor, but we have taught our kids from day 1 that they are NOT to go in the pool without a grownup watching. they know not to go in the backyard without permission and a grownup - we have been VERY frank and honest with them that they could DIE if they get in the pool without an adult watching. as of yet, they have NEVER tested us on this topic - they seem to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. the only reason i am comfortable with this setup is that we have a chime set up on our security system, so anytime that back door gets open, we know immediately. i do think a lot of the safety items available are a great idea though, it's all about your personal comfort level. on the flip side, i have heard some safety experts say that the more "devices" families have on their pool, some almost let their guard down and can be less watchful b/c they "trust" the safety devices and don't watch as closely - and you always have the chance that a device can malfunction or a child can find a way around it - so always be watchful no matter how much stuff you have to protect your pool.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Ideas (we do not have a pool so these are just my thoughts):

-- Put an alarm on the door leading to the backyard (it is a magnetic sensor that you put on part on the door frame the other on the actual door) when the alarm is turned on and the seal is broken/door is opened a constant noise goes on until either the door is closed OR you turn it off. You can turn it off so that when you are outside or going in and out yourself you do not set the alarm off. This is more of a home security thing but I have seen them in the Do-It-Yourself type stores and it would help alert you when someone is going out and you can investigate.

-- Put a fence around the pool and lock the gate with a pad lock (that of course is going to cost some money, but an option)

-- Teach pool safety and get swimming lessons for your kids. I know your kids are young but your 3 year old should be able to learn/understand if you keep repeating it.

-- Even with every protection you will just have to be super watchful when the pool cover is off.



answers from Duluth on

they sell little alarms that you put on your doors - when the doors open the alarm would go off. we have seen them at lowes. we have a sliding door that locks, but its easy to unlock and open. my son once just opened it and walked outside (we live in the country) and even up to the neighbor's house before i woke up to hearing him say "help mom" - he cant get the door open from outside because the porch is a step down from the house... so he was stuck outside. nothing bad happened, and there certainly isnt a pool around, but i was horrified! so you could easily get one of these alarms for your doors. to my understanding, they are a 2 piece thing that when separated for more than a certain distance (like 2 inches or something) they make the alarm go off. so you would know if someone opened your door.

i dont know anything about pool alarms. i just know that with water, and drowning, the only true method of safety is to avoid having a chlid get near the water unattended. sure, if a kid falls in, they do have alarms for that, but how long would a kid be in until you got to him, and it would be this panic situation. kids can drown in as little as a few minutes, so though well intended, i wouldnt trust a pool alarm to protect my kids.

you could put in a fence, but as you said, your 3 year old is unstoppable. so i would recommend the door alarms for the house. they can be placed up high where he cant reach them. it also would scare the begeezers out of him so he might stop trying to escape outside anyway.
good luck



answers from Rochester on

I don't really know about the alarms but as a mother of almost 5 and a daycare provider with a pool...I was wondering if you have considered a fence around the pool itself....We have ours decked all around and key locked on the outside and inside of the gate...Although our yard is fenced in this works very well for safety issues and certainly gives piece of mind as a mother...



answers from Des Moines on

I have a couple of suggestions. I grew up in Phoenix where it seems like every other house has a pool. Most of the people I know, due to the fencing laws for pools, have 6 ft. high metal fences around their pool (or between the house and the pool, if you have a porch). The latch for the fence must be at least 5 feet above the ground. Way too high for a 3 year old to reach! This law was put into place because of all the drownings that happen there. As long as you make sure you keep it latched, it is great!

My Dad was able to get around the fencing law because he had no children living with him when he built his new house. He doesn't have to have a fence, but he does have a door alarm system on all the doors that lead into the backyard. There is a button on the wall, about 5 feet above the ground; if you don't push the button before opening the door, an alarm will sound when the door opens. You also only have so long to open the door. A child should not be able to climb on a chair, push the button, climb down, and then open the door. This alerts everyone in the house that a "pool access" door has been opened. This is a nice option if there are no fence laws in your state and you don't want to put up a fence.



answers from Madison on

Have you taught your children how to swim yet??? That should have been the first thing you did. Get them in the water and teach them how to tread water and swim to the edge of the pool, and yes, the 18 month old is old enough to learn.A friend of mine has a pool, her boys could swim before they could walk. Go to the YMCA and inquire about classes. Teach your children to be safe in the water, not avoid the water.



answers from Madison on

Another type of alarm to consider is a water alarm. It floats on the surface of the water and goes off if it detects motion.



answers from Topeka on

We lived in a house with an inground pool for years....but we never has a pool alarm ( Of course our youngest is now 27 so they probably didn't exist back then...lol). The first thing I would do would be to find a CHILD PROOF lock to put on your door to the back yard!!! Try putting something up towards the top of the door where it is out of reach of your ingenious little 3 year old!!! I would be tempted to contact several pool companies in your area...ask them for suggestions ( have them come out and actually LOOK at your set up so they know exactly what you are dealing with). I would also ask them for references, talk to people who actually have the safety systems in place at their homes. You may also find an added benefit to this, your insurance premiums may go down a bit after you have installed the alarm system...or whatever you decide to go with.



answers from Dallas on

We put in a flip lock that is near the top of the door frame. I have to stand on my tip toes to unlock it. Even a child on a chair cannot reach it. Cheap and effective! I also put it on the door into my attic and on the door between my garage and backyard.


answers from Los Angeles on

I like pool alarms. I still like to have a gate around the pool though. I know it doesnt look as good, but it reassures me little bodies can't get near it unless an adult unlatches the lock (which is typicaly at the top of the gate). I completely understand your concern. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

I'd put both kids into an Infant Swimming Resource class ASAP. http://www.infantswim.com/ They can teach both kids the water safety skills they need to be safe. No amount of locking them away is going to keep them safe near water, you need to give them the skills to help themselves if they get into trouble. You also need to keep reinforcing "so swimming unless mommy/someone is there to watch". GL.



answers from Cleveland on

We had a pool growing up and my mom was pregnant when we moved in. We had a pool dug in our back yard. My parents decided when my brother was less then two to have private swimming lessons.
We had a fence around the back yard..which is a law in NJ if you have a pool. I think it has to be min 5 ft.
Good luck.



answers from Madison on

Your pool should be surrounded on all sides by a fence that locks, with the locks high enough that your children cannot reach them.

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