June is Check Your Pool (or Pond) Gate Month! Homeowners have so many things to maintain that it is hard to keep up. On that list is the pool gate, a critical safety item which most pool owners do not check. A pool gate is a vital drowning defense. Taking time for a relatively quick inspection of the gate (and fence) on a regular basis could save a life.
Drowning is quick, quiet and a leading cause of death
Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children between the ages of 1 and 4? Even for older children and adults, it is in the top 5 causes of unintentional injury related death from birth to 54 years old. Further, estimates indicate that for every fatal drowning, another 5 to 10 victims receive hospital related care for non-fatal drowning injuries which can still have life-changing effects.
Much of this is because drowning happens VERY QUICKLY and VERY QUIETLY; often in 20-60 SECONDS!
Safety checklist for pool gates
D&D Technologies (https://us.ddtech.com/pages/national-check-your-pool-gate-month) and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (http://NDPA.org) offer an abundance of helpful information about preventing drowning, including these gate related tips:
• Gate(s) should open outwards, away from the pool or pond and be no more than 4" from ground
• Latch release knob should be out of reach of children up to 5 years old (check local codes & ordinances)
• Gate must be self-closing and self-latching
• Hinges should be rust-free and move freely
• Reliable, tension–adjustable hinges for closing speed
• Latch must be adjustable for height and width
• Gate latch cannot be key locked in the “open” position
• Latch cannot be disengaged using implements
• Gate will shut and latch securely from any position
• Latch cannot be shaken or jolted open
• Gate complies with all United States Standards for Pool Safety
Beyond gates . . .
You now know that taking the time to verify the ongoing safety and security of your pool or pond fence and gate could save a life! We've learned that your pool gate is a vital drowning defense to help keep children and pets safe. However, while gates are an important part of your pool safety plan, they cannot prevent drowning on their own. Other measures need to be in place to further reduce risks, including supervision, swimming lessons, life vests, etc.. For additional information, visit https://www.american-fence.com/resources/fence-pool-safety/ and http://NDPA.org.
Sources: ndpa.org, redcross.org