Pool Fences and Gates Are More Important Than You Might Think
If you have a pool in your backyard, you’ve certainly had a fence installed around it, but you may not have thought much beyond that. Pool fences and gates are incredibly important safety precautions that every pool owner should take very seriously.
Even if you don’t have children of your own, you know that kids have a way of wandering around the neighborhood and getting into things they shouldn’t. Even if their parents or babysitters are around, sometimes they just manage to sneak out or wander into a neighboring yard. Imagine, for a moment, if you didn’t have a good fence with a firmly shut gate on it. Now think of what might happen if a child were to wander into your yard and decide to play by or in your pool. Tragedy could very easily strike.
Even if there aren’t any children in your neighborhood, neighborhood dogs and cats have a way of getting in unprotected yards, too. This isn’t so much a safety issue as a sanitation issue. Making sure that your pool is fenced off will keep it out of reach of neighborhood pets that might otherwise go for a swim or even defecate in your pool.
Think About the Gate
If you have children, a pool fence and gate is a no-brainer, but you may not have thought much about what kind of gate you put on the fence. To protect your child and the other children in your neighborhood from potential drowning, the best solution is a self-closing, self-latching gate.
Make sure that the gate you choose is spring-loaded, so that it will close on its own, even if someone walks in or out of the pool area without shutting it. It should also have a self-latching mechanism, so your young child can’t pull it open when unattended. For maximum safety, you should also choose a fence and gate that are at least four to five feet tall and that have posts close enough that a child couldn’t squeeze through.
Pool Fence Choices
If you’re shopping for a new pool fence, you have a couple of options to choose from. If your pool is set away from the house, and/or you have small children, you will most likely need to install a four-sided fence that encloses the entire pool area and that a child cannot get into on their own.
If your pool is right outside your back door, you can opt for a three-sided fence, where the fence butts up against the back wall of your house, which acts as the 4th side. If you have small children, you’ll need to make sure that they can’t get out the back door unattended. This will mean making sure that it is locked at all times and that they can’t unlock it by themselves. You can even have an alarm installed on your back door that will announce to you if your child has managed to get the door open and gotten outside to the pool area.
Fence and Gate Maintenance
As part of your pool-opening routine, every year you should check and make any necessary repairs to your pool fence and gate. Go along the length of the fence and check for any weak or missing posts. Replace or reinforce these before you fill and open your pool.
You should also check on your gate. How is the spring doing? Does the gate still close on its own? Is there anything obstructing the gate? Make sure it and its latching mechanism are in good working order. Once you’ve ensured that your fence and gate are in safe, working order, it’s time to open the pool and enjoy the summer!