Category Archives: Pool Safety Covers

Swimming Pool Safety Measures: Part 1

Swimming Pool Safety - Pool Fencing

Swimming Pool Safety – Pool Fencing

Swimming Pool Safety – Protecting Children From Drowning

Drowning is often a “silent death” because a victim is usually unable to splash violently or call for help, as one might expect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children 1-14 years old, and an extensive study performed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that “75 percent of the children involved in swimming pool submersion or drowning tragedies were between 1 and 3 years old.”

In addition, the CPSC’s study revealed the following statistics: the victims were typically being supervised by one or both parents when the swimming pool accident occurred. Nearly half of the child victims were last seen in the house before the pool accident occurred. Twenty-three percent of the victims were last seen on the porch, patio, or in the yard. Sixty-nine percent of the children who became victims in swimming pool accidents were not expected to be in or at the pool, but were found drowned or submerged in the water. Protecting children from drowning or becoming submerged in a backyard swimming pool calls for more than a single type of safety device. Providing “layers of protection” is the best strategy for keeping children safe in and around the pool.

Swimming Pool Safety – Pool Fencing

The first step for swimming pool safety or layer of protection is a barrier that surrounds the pool area; generally, this is a pool fence or wall. Swimming Pool Safety begins with Fences or other barriers around the pool area that should be at least four feet high, and the spaces between slats or holes in the barrier need to be so close together that it stops a child from gaining a handhold or foothold which would allow them access to the other side of the barrier. Any gates in the fence around your backyard swimming pool should have the ability to close and latch by themselves so there is no incidence of the gates standing open for any length of time. In addition, gate latches must be adhered high on the barrier out of the reach of children.

Door Alarm

Any door that comes from the house to the pool area should be equipped with an alarm that provides a warning sound if the door is opened. Door alarms should sound within 7 seconds after a door is opened and for a duration of at least 30 seconds, and the sound of the door alarm should be loud and distinct to avoid confusing it with another alarm that may be in the house. In addition, door alarms should be equipped with a switch or keypad to allow adults to enter or leave through the door without the alarm sounding. This switch or keypad needs to be installed high on the interior wall out of a child’s reach.

Swimming Pool Safety Cover

The next layer of protection is a pool safety cover. Solar pool covers and winter pool covers are not safety covers. In fact, solar covers and winter covers could possibly be very dangerous because a person who steps out onto the cover while it is on the pool will quickly become trapped as the pool cover sinks into the water. Escape is extremely difficult without immediate assistance. When installed, a safety pool cover must be able to hold a minimum of 485 pounds per 5 square feet, according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F1346-91. Pool safety covers are anchored to a deck with straps . The straps usually attach to stainless steel springs and are anchored to recessed brackets in a deck surface. A mesh pool cover does not allow water to stand on the cover, but debris may accumulate in the pool while the cover is in use. A solid cover prevents debris from accumulating in the pool, but it does not allow rain and snow to drain through; as a result, the pool cover can sag and present a drowning danger to small children who may wander onto the cover if not carefully supervised. Choosing a solid pool cover with drain panels or obtaining a cover pump to remove the accumulated water is recommended.

Pool Alarm

Another layer of protection is a pool alarm. Pool alarms come in different varieties. Some are designed to detect movement on the top of the pool’s surface, some are developed to detect underwater disturbances, some act like motion detectors using infrared beams, and some are worn on the wrist and sound an alarm when the device is submerged. The topic of pool alarms is described in more detail in Part 2 of this article.

Adult Supervision

No matter how many safety precautions are taken to protect children from submersion and drowning accidents in the backyard swimming pool, close and constant supervision by a responsible adult is the most important “layer of protection” for keeping children safe. Believing that a child is a good swimmer and providing them with flotation devices cannot ever take the place of adult supervision. Using most of these protective measures described in this article is the best defense in preventing children from experiencing a “silent death” by drowning in the backyard swimming pool.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Document #359. “How to plan for the unexpected: Prevent Child Drownings.”
  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Document #362. “Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools”

Swimming Pool Covers

Swimming Pool Covers

Pool Covers

Swimming Pool Covers Reduce Maintenance and Increase Safety

Pool covers serve two main purposes.  First, they can reduce your pool’s maintenance cost, and second, a safety cover can prevent a serious accident.  There are a variety of covers available, and you should be able to find one that meets your needs.  Or, you may decide to get two covers.  Four main types of pool covers are Solar Covers, Winter Covers, Safety Covers, and Leaf Nets.  They are made from different materials including mesh fabric and vinyl material.  Leaf nets and winter covers protect your pool from accumulations of dirt, leaves, and other debris.  Covers for in ground pools and above ground pools differ in use and design, but there are stock and customized covers that will fill the needs of most customers.  Each type of cover serves a different purpose.

Solar pool covers or blankets help save energy and water.  They will raise your pool’s water temperature by an average of ten degrees by absorbing sunlight during the day and keeping that heat in the pool at night.  A solar cover will reduce your water and chemical evaporation by up to 70 percent which can save gallons of water each month.  If you use a heater, the heat retained by a solar cover helps to reduce your heating costs which can mean a savings of up to 90% in the summer time.  Another advantage of a solar cover is that it helps to keep debris out of your pool, and that saves run time on your filter pump.

Winter pool covers are used mainly to protect the pool from winter weather and to keep tree limbs, leaves, dirt, and other debris from falling into the pool.  For an in ground pool, a solid winter pool cover is held in place with water bags placed around the edge inside sleeves attached to the cover.  An above ground pool uses the same type of solid pool cover, but it is held in place by a combination winch and vinyl coated cable assembly that runs through grommets in the cover.  Inflatable air pillows rest on the water under the cover to make stick and leaf removal easier and helps water to run off the cover.  A winter cover also blocks sunlight and inhibits algae growth.  A winter cover is an important part of winterizing your pool which makes your springtime opening much easier and less expensive.

So what does a leaf net do?  Leaf nets are lightweight covers made of an open weave material that fits over your winter cover or solar cover and helps you avoid accumulations of wet, heavy, saturated leaves and twigs on top of your winter cover.  These nets ensure a quicker removal of leaves and helps prolong the life of your winter or solar cover.  They can be used in any season and are a big help if your pool is located in an area surrounded by trees. The open weave allows water to pass through the net but will block twigs and trash.  Leaf nets make it easier to remove your pool cover.

Finally, we have safety pool covers which are the most expensive type of pool cover.  A safety cover is a maintenance cover as well as a safety barrier over your pool.  All safety covers must meet the requirements in the ASTM standards F1346-91 (1996); that means a cover must be able to support the weight of a small child or animal should they walk out onto the cover.  A proper safety cover is securely anchored into the deck area surrounding the pool and lies flat so there are no gaps between the pool and the cover that could allow a child to get under the cover and into the water.  Safety covers give the pool owner peace of mind that no child can fall into the pool.  Sharp objects can create a hole in your safety cover, but a good cover is made from material that will not run, so the hole will not automatically increase in size.  A hole can then be patched.  Safety covers follow the shape of the pool and have a proper number of anchors embedded around the pool to hold the cover in place.  Some covers require professional installation, but many can be installed by the owner.  Safety covers are available in a mesh or a solid material.  Mesh covers are lightweight and allow water, but not debris, to pass through.  Some solid covers also contain a mesh area for draining.

It is important to remember these points.  A covered pool will experience less freezing than an uncovered one.   A covered pool will require less work, be less stressful and less expensive when you open it up in the spring time.  And safety covers will protect children and animals from falling into the water.  Check out the different types of covers and decide which is best for your pool.  Look for a local professional if you decide on a safety cover and need someone to install it.

Pool Safety Cover Care and Maintenance

Safety Cover Care and Maintenance

Safety Cover Care and Maintenance

Tips for Caring for Your Swimming Pool Safety Cover

A safety cover differs from any other type of swimming pool cover in that it is designed to prevent drowning and submersion accidents by providing a taut barrier over the pool water. A cover can only be called a safety cover if it is able to support at least 485 pounds per 5 square feet, according to standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM standard F1346-91). Any person or animal who wanders onto a properly installed safety cover will be protected from falling into the pool.

In order for a safety cover to do its job, though, it must be kept in good shape. Here are some tips pool owners can follow to care for and maintain a swimming pool safety cover:

When installing the safety cover initially, ensure that springs are very taut because, over time, the cover will relax and the tension will ease.

Removing and replacing the cover before and after use is an easier process if the cover is fan folded.

When not in use, store the cover in the storage bag included. Hang the bag off of the floor so the cover can drain.

Flush out anchor casings in the pool deck with a hose several times a year to prevent sticking.

Debris can be easily hosed off of a properly installed cover.

To clean the debris screen in a solid safety cover, first remove the cover from the pool. Open and fold back the mesh panel on top of the cover. Hose the filter screen off from behind to remove any fine debris. Finally, close the panel and store the cover away until it is needed again.

Use a cover pump to remove any excess water that accumulates on the top of a solid safety cover that does not have a debris screen.

Any small holes in the cover should be patched right away to prevent them from increasing in size.

Large holes may not be fixable, and a new safety cover may be required.

The only way to ensure that a safety cover can adequately prevent submersion and drowning accidents is make sure it stays in top condition. Regular maintenance is the key. Additionally, proper installation of the safety cover is essential. A safety cover should lie flat against the pool deck to prevent any gaps or spaces through which a child could squeeze and gain access to the pool water.