Keeping a close eye on kids when they’re supposed to be in the pool is an essential part of pool safety (see Parts 1 & 2). But how do you keep them safe when they aren’t supposed to be in the pool? The best way to do so is to set up barriers. That’s the next safety measure in our list of pool safety basics.
Decide on a Type of Barrier
First, you need to choose the barrier that will work best for your pool. There are two common types of barriers that people typically use to secure their pools: pool fences and pool covers. Whichever one you choose will depend on your personal needs, preferences, and budget.
Insist on a Quality Product
Whether you decide to use a cover or a fence, you’ll want to look for one that bears an ASTM International label indicating the manufacturer’s compliance with this well-respected group’s standards of quality.
ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials. Though it was started in the United States back in 1898 to help standardize the steel used in the railroad industry, this group has become internationally recognized as the go-to standard classification organization in a whole host of industries across the globe. This would include the pool barrier industry. ASTM International compiles teams that include testing laboratory technicians, government and industry representatives, consumers and retailers to help determine the safety of different products like pool safety covers and fences. They’re considered so reliable that here in the U.S. many state and federal codes refer to their standards.
Know the Standards for Pool Safety Covers
Some of the things necessary for a pool cover to be ASTM compliant are adequate surface drainage requirements, proper prevention of entrapment between the pool’s side perimeter and the safety cover, warranty labels and warnings being posted on the product, and the ability to hold up to at least 485 pounds of weight to enable a rescue. All of these categories are rigorously tested for each product before it can be labeled as an ASTM International compliant pool safety cover.
Know the Standards for Pool Fences
To be considered ASTM International compliant, a pool fence must latch and close with a self-closing and latching mechanism located on the exterior side of the gate. This latch must be located at least 54″ high. The fence has to be completely void of any feature that would allow a child’s hand to grasp or foot to stand on it, such as an indentation or bump. Slats need to be close enough together that a four-inch sphere could not pass through them. The fence has to be no more than an inch off the ground, and the fence itself has to be higher than 48 inches. The fence must be set up so that its clear zone is at least 20 inches from the pool. The gate has to swing out away from instead of toward the swimming pool, and it has to be a hinged gate. These standards have been compiled after careful testing to make the fence as difficult for a child to breach or climb as possible.
Continue reading with Part 4.
Read More About Swimming Pools
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