Keeping your family safe around your in ground pool is a year-round job. During the winter, pool safety is often out of sight and, thus, out of mind. Since you are not using your pool regularly, it can be easy for basic safety precautions to slip your mind.
Even fallen leaves can result in a less visible pool. It is important to be vigilant about pool safety year round – including during the winter months when you might not be using your pool regularly.
Here are a few tips to help protect your family and keep your pool secure during the colder months.
Lock It Up, If Possible
If you have separate gate on you pool area, add a sturdy lock to the gate. Since you won’t be using it as often, this lock will keep your pool area secure without being a nuisance every time you want to use the pool. Even with the lock in place, be sure to check the gate every few days to ensure it is secure. This is not a ‘set it and forget it’ solution.
Remove Climbable Items
All the gates and locks in the world won’t keep your pool secure if children can easily climb over the fence using a nearby chair, trashcan, or other garden accessory. Make sure to keep the area around your pool fence clear of these types of items.
Cover Your Pool
Unlike summer pool covers, winter pool covers are designed with safety in mind. These covers are generally made of a stiff canvas and held in place with sturdy straps. The mesh is pulled tight, making it difficult to fall in the pool. If someone falls, their body weight will be suspended above the water by the safety cover. If you choose this option, make sure you choose a pool cover specifically designed as a safety cover, like these ones and check it often for rips and tears.
Warn Your Children About The Dangers of Hypothermia
Pools are dangerous during the winter months because of hypothermia, in addition to drowning risks. Older children who are strong swimmers may not think about the added risk of hypothermia. When the body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, which can happen quickly in cool or cold water, it can result in heart failure and death. Keep in mind, spending 15 minutes or less in cold water can result in hypothermia.
Check Your Pool Regularly
Get in the habit of checking your pool’s security every few days, or at minimum, weekly. During the colder months, it is easy to figure once your pool is locked up it is safe, but you need to do regular checks. Walk the fence perimeter to ensure there are no gaps, check to make sure the lock hasn’t been tampered with, and, if you have one, ensure your winter cover is tight and rip free.