Category Archives: Pool and Spa Safety

Swimming Pool Safety Measures: Part 2

Swimming Pool Safety - Pool Alarms

Swimming Pool Safety – Pool Alarms

How to Choose the Right Swimming Pool Alarm to increase Swimming Pool Safety

Residential pool alarms are only one of the many layers of protection that should be implemented in and around the backyard swimming pool to lower the incidence of childhood drowning accidents. There are so many varieties of pool alarms available to pool owners, though, that it may be difficult to know which one to choose. By considering the following information regarding pool alarms, you should be more prepared to be able to make an excellent choice for the safety of the children in your life.

An evaluation of swimming pool alarms conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2000 tested three different types of pool alarms: surface wave sensors, subsurface disturbance sensors, and a wristband sensor. Surface wave sensors float on the surface of the water. Subsurface disturbance sensors attach to the side of the pool, and a portion of the sensor is submerged below the water’s surface. The wristband sensor is worn by the child and the alarm sounds if the sensor goes underwater.

The CPSC’s study included many different tests of each type of alarm in 6 backyard swimming pools of various styles and shapes. The goals of the study were “to determine whether the surface and subsurface wave sensors would alarm when a test object entered the pool, and to determine whether the wristband would alarm when exposed to pool water.” Additionally, the study tested for false alarms that that possibly might go off inadvertantly due to weather such as wind and rain, and those that may be triggered by an object such as a volleyball or large pool float.

According to the results of the CPSC study, the surface wave sensors performed less positively as the subsurface disturbance sensors when a test object was thrown into the pool. The study concludes that subsurface disturbance sensors “were more consistent in alarming and less likely to false alarm than the surface alarms.” The wristband sensor sounded an alarm each time it was submerged in pool water and each time it was exposed to other water sources, such as that from a faucet or hose.

The CPSC study did not include tests of infrared motion detection alarms, which are another type of swimming pool alarm system. Infrared motion detection systems routinely set of an alarm when a child, adult, or object enters the beam path that surrounds the pool. Some alarm systems include a subsurface disturbance sensor in addition to the motion detection feature to increase the level of protection.

Factors to look for when purchasing a pool alarm

While pool alarms may come with many more features than are presented here, the following is a list of recommended features to look for when deciding on a pool alarm for your own backyard swimming pool:

  • Easy installation
  • Tamper proof
  • Includes a remote receiver with a range of up to 200 ft or more
  • Low battery indicator on alarm and on receiver
  • Recommended for the size and shape of your swimming pool
  • Able to detect an object as small as a 1 year old child, approximately 18 pounds
  • A loud and distinct alarm should sound within 20 seconds when a child simulator is dropped into the pool.

After you decide which pool alarm you need, performing regular tests of the alarm’s effectiveness will ensure that your alarm continues to function properly over time.

Finally and most importantly, no swimming pool alarm is totally infallible no matter how many technologies and features it has and no matter what claims are made by the manufacturer. Pool alarms should be considered as one of many layers of protection in the effort to halt children from drowning, along with protective barriers, door alarms, and safety pool covers.

The first and most important way to protect children from drowning accidents, though, is to provide close and constant supervision by a responsible adult. A combination of safety measures are required for a safe backyard environment for your loved ones.


Whitfield, Troy W. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “An Evaluation of Swimming Pool Alarms.” May 2000.

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”

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.

Spa Covers and Hot Tub Covers

Spa & Hot Tub Covers

Spa Covers Hot Tub Covers

Spa and Hot Tub Covers are an Essential Element for Maintenance and Safety

With the colder weather upon us folks are starting to fire the hot tubs and spas up. Not too many things feel as good as soaking in a hot tub sipping your favorite beverage with friends, family or that special someone in freezing weather or while it is snowing outside. Unwinding in a spa or hot tub after a tiring day is one of life’s ultimate luxuries.  What do you do, though, when you’re done with your toasty soak?  Do you keep your hot tub covered?  If not, here’s why you should:

  • Spa covers and hot tub covers prevent evaporation, saving you money on water and chemicals.  Maintaining the chemical balance of your spa’s water is easier and less time consuming when a spa cover is used on a regular basis.
  • Spa covers also insulate the water and prevent much of the heat from escaping.  Keeping the hot tub’s water warm when not in use makes heating the water faster the next time you want to take a soak.  Not only do you save energy, but your spa heater lasts longer because you use it less often and for shorter amounts of time.
  • Spa covers keep debris and dirt out of your hot tub.  Cleaning your hot tub takes less time and effort when there is less to clean up.

One specific type of spa cover that is recommended for homes with children and pets is called a walk on spa cover.  Standard spa covers, while they appear to be perfectly sturdy, may not be able to support the weight of a child if he or she decides to use the top of the hot tub as a play area.  Children and pets can be injured or may drown if a spa cover collapses into the water below.  Walk on spa covers, on the other hand, can support the weight of a child as well as the child’s entire family.  They come equipped with a locking mechanism, too, so the cover cannot be lifted or moved from the hot tub.

Even if you don’t have children or pets, walk on spa covers are a good option if you live in a snowy climate.  Accumulated snow can be quite heavy, especially if it is wet snow, as opposed to dry, powdery snow.  If that heavy snow is not cleared off of standard spa covers very frequently, those covers can become damaged.  Walk on spa covers can easily handle the weight of many feet of accumulated, heavy snow.

Whether you opt to purchase a standard spa cover or a walk on spa cover depends on your situation, but covering your spa or hot tub whenever it is not in use is an important step in properly maintaining it.

Pool Accessories For Summer

Pool Caddy Pool Side Organizer
Check out our selection of pool accessories that will help you start summer off right! We carry all of this, and much more, at BYCP!

  • Pool Alarms, which alert you to large objects breaking the pool’s surface
  • Pool Fountains that add elegance and charm to your pool
  • Maintenance Equipment, such as brushes and nets
  • Pool Lights, for dazzling decoration and function
  • Outdoor Clocks and Thermometers
  • Anti-Entrapment devices which provide safety
  • Pool Signs with safety message, clever reminders, etc.
  • Pool-side organizers