02 October 2019
How to Make Your Swimming Pool Child Friendly
Every pool owner with young children will be keenly aware of the need to be vigilant when children are in and around their swimming pool. The important first step is to ensure that children learn to swim as young as possible and continue with lessons to develop water confidence, technique and become safety aware.
Learning to swim is a compulsory part of the national curriculum between the ages of 7 and 11, but children learn at different rates for all sorts of reasons, so it’s wise to be involved in their swimming coaching separately from what happens at school (a recent report highlighted that there is still work to be done to ensure all children learn to swim). Even when your children are confident swimmers, they should never be left unattended nearby or in a pool as accidents can happen in a split second.
Healthy pool water: The next step is to ensure that every aspect of the pool is in perfect condition from the pool plant to the pool water. The water must be correctly sanitised and regularly serviced so that it is clean and safe and will not cause any irritation, for example to the eyes and skin.
Keep the pool secure: It is vital that you prevent children from accessing the pool area without adult supervision. If you have an indoor pool, always keep the pool hall door locked until an adult can accompany children. Likewise, if you have an outdoor pool, you need to prevent young children getting to the pool area without adult supervision. Most people prefer not to build an unattractive protective fence around their beautiful outdoor pool, so the best thing is to ensure that the door or gate leading to the garden is child-proof for example, you could consider installing an electronic passcode system with the pad placed well above child height.
Pool cover protection: A high-quality vinyl pool safety cover, properly fitted, affords protection against an accidental trip. Despite its name, no-one – child or adult – should ever walk on the cover. Fitting a pool with a safety cover is a good precaution and they have other benefits, for instance, in the case of outdoor pools they minimise the incursion of dirt and debris into the water. When it’s time to swim, remove the cover and ensure its secure on the roller. If it’s an automatic model, the cover will be retained in a discrete hatch built into the pool. If there is heavy rainfall and water gathers on top of the cover of an outdoor pool, drain it off immediately; even shallow puddles can pose risks to toddler, and pets for that matter.
Solid pool floor - the ultimate pool cover: If you are just starting the process of having your pool designed, and you have young children to protect, an excellent option is a pool with a moving floor. This incredible technology enables a solid floor to reside out of sight at the bottom of the pool and when it is electronically activated, the floor rises to the top of the pool and seals off the water with a solid floor can take the body weight of many people at once!
Pool party protection: If you are having young children over for a pool party (whether they are paddling in the shallow end or swimming in the main pool), as well as having a good swimmer with first aid skills keep an eye on them, provide the children with preservers (personal floatation devices), even for those who can swim.
Pool inflatables: Children love to play with inflatable toys in the pool – as a matter of course, check that all toys are in good shape before putting them in the pool; that way nothing will deflate unexpectedly and cause a problem. While it’s great to have safe inflatable toys in the pool, remember not to leave toys of any kind languishing by the pool side, as these could be trip hazards for exuberant children.
Safe pool behaviour: Before the children get into the pool, how about kicking-off the pool party with a jolly little nursery rhyme about being safe in the pool – Never Swim Alone is a great example. You could also make a game of simple pool rules covering things like no running, pushing and diving.
Final contingencies: There are a few other contingencies you can look at: regularly check the pool surround to ensure that there are no chipped or loose flagstones (if there are, have them fixed by your service engineer on the next visit), store a lifebuoy and a first aid kit nearby, and ensure that any adult watching children using the pool carries a mobile phone. A swimming pool alarm, which goes off when a heavy object (eg person) falls into the water, can be fitted to your pool, but this should never be relied upon in place of an adult watching over children while they are in and around the pool.
The above may seem like a lot to contend with but they soon become second nature, and nothing can be more important than protecting children as they have fun, strengthen their swimming skills and become super confident in the water.
At London Swimming Pool Company we specialise in swimming pool maintenance, servicing and refurbishment in London and Surrey, so if you have a pool that’s in need of regular maintenance or a facelift, contact us for an initial discussion – there’s no substitute for expert advice. If you have an older swimming pool that needs upgrading, we suggest planning your refurbishment for the autumn, so all the work is done and dusted before the next swimming season.