Pool Safety Tips
In the time it takes to pour a drink, a child can drown. Herewith some tips that every parent and pool owner should
take note of and keep handy.
- If you have a pool or water feature, get a safety cover fitted by a reputable supplier. Don’t secure
a pool then ignore a pond or fountain! Check the cover’s fastenings regularly and replace as soon as they weather or break – they
are crucial to the effectiveness of such covers.
- If your children visit friends whose pools are not secure, urge the parent to
fit a safety pool cover.
- Check the weight tolerance of any safety cover you purchase. (For example the PowerPlastics Pool Covers Solid
Safety Cover bears the weight of two adults and a child).
- As soon as a child is found in a pool, start CPR and do not stop before emergency
services arrive on the scene. It can make the difference between a full recovery, brain damage and death.
- Ensure that every adult in
the home knows CPR, including domestic workers. Never hire a baby sitter or au pair who can’t swim.
- Thermal pool covers and leaf nets
are never to be considered a safe barrier for children.
- Don’t leave toys in or near a pool, children will be tempted to retrieve them.
- Teach your child what to do if they see another child in trouble – to call for help and not to try help the victim themselves as this
could put him/her at risk too.
- Never leave a child unattended near a pool. Take a cordless phone outside in case you get a phone call,
or let the call go answered.
- If you’re pregnant, order your safety pool cover now, you’ll have enough to worry about after the birth.
your child to swim fully clothed and with shoes on.
- Choose a swimming coach wisely. If you’re not comfortable with techniques being
used, trust your gut instinct. Negative experiences in early childhood can have long-term impact. If your child develops a fear of
water, don’t ignore this – a child who panics is at greater risk.
- If your child is ill or on sedative medicine, do not allow swimming.
allow swimming after dark.
- If your child has suddenly gone quiet or wandered off, check the pool first. Even a minute can make
the difference between survival, irreversible brain damage and death.
- Be a role model. Children tend to copy adults so don’t be a clown
and ban hooligan antics from your pool. Never allow an adult who has been drinking or is under the influence of sedative medication
to supervise children in or near a pool.
- Discourage walking or playing on any pool cover. Fit a sensor beam if your children tend to
flout the rules.
- Don’t let pool levels drop. Keeping the pool topped up allows for small arms to easily grab the edge if needed.
under estimate the scope of peer pressure when it comes to risk taking. If you see other children being excessively foolish in the
pool, chat to the parent. Children don’t enjoy teasing and are one lot who often WILL jump in the fire if their friend tells them
it is a good idea!
- Discourage your dogs from swimming. Children and pets in a pool are not a good mix.
- Teach your child how to
retrieve objects from the bottom of the pool to build water confidence and teach breathing techniques.
- Even if you don’t have children,
it is still necessary to consider safety for visitors. Families living in residential complexes with a communal pool should insist
that their body corporate install a pool cover.
Safety devices that are available include a mesh barrier
fence, self-closing and self-latching gate, alarms for doors windows and for detection in and around the pool, personnel immersion
alarms, certified safety covers, life rings and shepherd's hooks.
While a home swimming pool is an obvious place to be practising
water safety, don't forget that bathtubs, lakes, ponds, inflated kiddies pools and the beach are also dangerous.
The legal implications
of owning a swimming pool
South African homeowners need to be aware of the legal and insurance implications of owning a
swimming pool in light of new legislation.
The new legislation will place even more onus on the owner.
Homeowners should be aware that
there are two types of cover under building insurance policies.
The first covers the actual damage of the structure, while the second
is legal liability cover.
This is where the homeowner protects themselves legally against something happening to guests, trespassers
and / or their tangible property on the insured property.
Currently, the owner of the pool is held accountable under South African
Law of Delict in the event of a drowning incident.
South Africa’s civil liability laws mean a civil claim can be charged against a
pool owner for any damage suffered as a result of drowning, whether fatal or not.
Internationally, pool safety laws are very strict
and South Africa is following this trend.
There are regulations pertaining to safety ‘in and around’ swimming pools that relate to
private swimming pools. Swimming pools that are situated on the grounds of a sectional title or community living scheme is deemed
‘private’ as they are for the specific use of owners or occupants and invited guests only.
For purpose of this article, content from
National Building Regulations (NBR) – SABS 0400-1990 Part D (Public Safety) DD4 and also SANS 10134:2008 ‘The safeness of private
swimming pools’ is referenced.
In reading the regulations and guidelines, it becomes apparent that the purpose of these regulations
and guidelines is to prevent the accidental drowning of vulnerable persons, particulary young children. Legislation seems to focus
on young children under age of seven years.
Here is a part summary format of NBR as applies to swimming pools:
The owner of any site
that has a swimming pool shall ensure by means of a wall or fence that no person can gain access to the pool from any street, public
space or adjoining property other than through a self-closing and self-latching gate with provision for locking in such wall or fence;
provided that where any building forms part of such wall, access may be through such building.
The wall or fence and any such gate
therein, shall not be less than 1.2m high from ground level and shall not contain any opening which will allow a ball measuring 100mm
in diameter to pass through.’
Further safety guidelines for owners or occupiers in terms of SANS in summary as follows:
Over and above
NBR above, consider other protective devices that should be installed by reputable manufacturers/suppliers only.
Ensure competent adult
supervision at the swimming pool whenever the gate is not locked.Stipulate that children may not use the swimming pool during absence
of such competent adult supervision, unless under their own parental care.
Prominently display complete emergency instructions (with
relevant telephone numbers) and other related procedures near the swimming pool.
Provide a suitable device with which a non-swimmer
can pull a distressed child/person to safety, at close proximity to the swimming pool edge.
Ensure that objects (e.g. deck chairs,
wheelbarrows, etc.) onto which a child could climb so to scale the enclosure are not left unattended in the vicinity of the swimming
Keep a regular check on the condition and operation of the swimming pool enclosure structures and mechanisms as per NBR above.
swimming pool area free of obstructions and items or structures with sharp edges or projections that could cause injury to children.
recommendations that could/should be applied to rules governing the safety around a community use swimming pool, but not limited
to, the following:
No glass bottles or containers to be permitted in the swimming pool area.
If the pool has a deep end, the deep end
should be noted with a depth marker.
No diving or ‘bomb-dropping’ permitted.
No running allowed around the swimming pool edge.
guidelines may be followed, providing they are in keeping with your local authority requirements.
Examples of safe swimming pool
enclosures (extracted from SANS 10400 D)
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Pool Safety >
Swimming Pool Safety Pretoria, Gauteng & South Africa
Over the past five years, a total of 3 000 deaths caused by drowning were recorded in the country, according to
the Medical Research Council of South Africa.
On their website, Netcare 911 Operations Director, Peter Feurestein said approximately
75 per cent of all drownings in South Africa each year occur among young children under the age of five years. This is backed by a
special report published by the World Health Organisation indicating that children under five years have the highest drowning mortality
For this reason, safety precautions should be taken seriously.
Children and adults should be aware of the steps necessary
when swimming. Many people might be in the water – be it at the beach or pool.
Do you have or are you buying a home with a swimming pool? A swimming pool is one of the most valuable assets in a home and it can
be the place your family and friends share some of the best times of their lives. You need to make sure it is functioning properly
and that it is safe. I will do a comprehensive inspection on your swimming pool and provide you with a detailed report with photo's.
I follow the InterNachi standards checklist for pool inspections. I will check for pool barrier safety requirements, the
pool electrical system, circulating system, pool interior, pool decks and paving, slides and diving boards.
Inspected once, Inspected Right!®
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