Pool Safety Devices

A guide to locally available pool safety devices.

Safety Nets

Currently costs approximately R2300 for an average 8x4m pool.

Pros

  • Often cheaper than pool covers
  • Provides a barrier over the water
  • Pool water remains visible so aesthetically, a more pleasing option.


Cons

  • Feet and arms can get stuck in the mesh and cause a child to panic and therefore be placed at risk.
  • Nets can sag over time and dip into the water. And if a net is just sagging slightly and water levels are too high after a top up or heavy rain, again the net will make contact with the water
  • Can be difficult to use, requiring two or more strong adults on either side of the pool to create the tension required.
  • There is a definite hassle factor when it comes to using pool nets, which makes people lazy about securing the pool after use. The time it takes to put a net on or take it off is a deterrant.

Solid Safety Covers

Currently costs approximately R7500 for an average 8x4m pool.

Pros

  • Restricts all access
  • Quality covers have good weight tolerance
  • Generally very easy to use. Most solid covers use a lightweight pole and ratchet system to create the required tension, no brute force is required!
  • A solid cover forms a complete barrier over the water. No child can squeeze through the sides or pry off the cover.
  • A solid safety cover closes the pool to the elements so it doubles up as an eco-wise pool cover solution too.

Cons

  • Often more expensive than nets and fences, depending on the supplier.
  • A tear in the cover, if not repaired, can compromise efficiency and increase risk.
  • If a solid safety cover does not have drainage holes, rain or sprinkler water can form a pool on top of the cover – a drowning risk if a curious child crawls on the cover to investigate.
  • Must be installed by a certified installation team.

Alarms – sensor beams over the pool or wrist alarms on the child.

Currently costs approximately R2000 for a wrist alarm kit.

Sensor beams across a pool – with a multitude of systems on the market, ranging from basic entry level systems to those using highly sophisticated technologies, it is difficult to give an average price.

Pros

  • Give an instant alert to immediate danger.
  • Is a more portable device than nets, covers and fences i.e. can be used when swimming outside the home.


Cons

  • Batteries can go flat
  • If running off the mains, a power blackout will render alarm useless.
  • If the alarm goes off frequently, it can later be ignored by adults, much like a house alarm going off repeatedly and nobody taking any notice of it.
  • The device’s technology can fail or become faulty.
  • There is a range limitation. To be effective at wider ranges, boosters are required.
  • In the amount of time it takes to rush to the pool, the child could have already drowned.
  • Household noise like TV and radios can potentially drown out the alarm if it sounds.
  • In salt water pools, alarm devices can corrode and malfunction if water is improperly balanced.
  • Can give parents a false sense of security.

Fences and self latching safety gates

Prices vary but budget for approximately R7300 for a 15m pool fence with gate..

Pros

  • Physically restricts access to the pool area as opposed to the pool water.
  • Perhaps more visually appealing than nets and solid covers.
  • A huge amount of suppliers keeps the price low.


Cons

  • Children can climb over a fence or find something in the garden to step up on to climb over
  • If a child enters the pool area, a self latching gate could close behind him/her and thus lock the child IN the pool area.
  • Can be unattractive
  • Need enough space around the pool to accommodate a fence.

Water wings, armbands, floating tubes etc

When it comes to drowning prevention, no pros. A flotation device secured to the child’s person is a flotation aid, NOT a drowning prevention measure. Never consider your child safe with just a flotation aid.