Planning a pool project is exciting when you consider all of the luxury elements you can include, from a pool sun shelf to grottos and a slide for the kids. But there is a whole set of essential features you probably aren’t thinking of when you search Houzz for pool inspiration or view completed projects from a professional pool contractor.
We’re talking about pool safety.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) unintentional drowning statistics show an average of 10 people die every day because of unintentional drowning, with 1 in 5 of those being children age 14 and younger. You can prevent fatal pool accidents by ensuring that several necessary safety features are incorporated into the swimming pool design. A certified pool professional with knowledge of local and state pool codes in New York and Connecticut can provide guidance.
Here are some of the must-have pool safety items you will need to open your pool with peace of mind.
Pool Enclosures for New York and Connecticut
Residential swimming pools in New York and Connecticut are required to have a pool enclosure that completely surrounds the pool, which can include a fence or wall that is at least 4 feet high. Your pool enclosure must include a self-closing and self-latching gate that can be securely locked. New York specifies that if a wall of your home serves as part of the barrier, your pool must also have either a powered safety cover or alarms on all doors with direct access to the pool.
Keep in mind, your pool enclosure can actually enhance the appearance of your outdoor space and will provide privacy so you can enjoy your outdoor oasis, too.
Pool Alarm, Water Sensor
Also required is a pool alarm that sounds when 15 pounds or more enters the pool. Depending on the size of your pool, you might need more than one pool alarm or water level sensor because it must provide detection capability across the entire pool surface.
Auto Pool Cover
A well-designed, custom automatic pool cover will prevent anyone from entering or accidentally falling into the pool while it is not “in use.” Auto-covers are easy to use because you can quickly conceal and protect your pool with the push of a button, or open it up when you’re ready to swim. Plus, auto covers offer the benefits of preventing debris from falling into the pool, can serve as a winter cover and help retain heat during cool summer nights.
Pool suction outlets can be risky when not properly designed and protected. If drain covers are not compliant, loose or broken, a child’s body, hair or swimsuit could get trapped. All vacuum systems and suction outlets must be protected (except surface skimmers) with a cover, drain gate, channel drain system or gravity drainage system.
Life Ring and Shepherd’s Hook
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance recommends keeping a life ring and hook close to the pool in case you need to pull someone out of the water. Place the rescue equipment in a clearly marked, accessible place. Ideally, the life hook should be at least 16 feet long—and if your pool extends beyond 50 feet, you will need an additional hook. The life preserver should be 18 inches in diameter and include a rope that is long enough to reach all parts of the pool.
Clearly mark changes in depth on both sides of the pool so swimmers know when they’re entering the deep end. If your pool design includes a slope, mark this spot, as well. You might also include a rope and float line placed across the pool. Also, step edges should be marked with texture so anyone entering the pool can feel their way into the pool safely.
Slip-Resistant Pool Surround
During the design process, you’ll explore various types of pool decks and patios that create a true outdoor living environment. Poolside decks are versatile, providing space to entertain—yet they must be safe and slip-resistant to prevent anyone from accidentally falling into the pool.
First Aid Kit
We always recommend that clients maintain a well-stocked first aid kit that includes sunscreen in a convenient location. Accidents happen, so be prepared.
Swim Safe this Summer
Planning a pool project is a complex process that takes into consideration your lifestyle, design preferences and safety. When all of these issues are addressed, you’ll end up with an outdoor living environment and pool where you can make memories with family and friends. Give us a call—we’d love to hear your ideas and share inspiration for your pool and landscape project.