What Makes A Good Pool Safety Net?
As swimming pool safety nets are a relatively new safety product in some American States we asked the originator and designer of the pool safety net - Katchakid Inc.'s CEO Blair Esson to tells us his thoughts on what makes a great safety net. He answered:
- Ease of Operation - hassle equals hazard, if you haven't got ease of operation you are less willing to put the net on and then either you stop enjoying your pool or the net is not used creating a dangerous situation.
- Watch out for inferior netting material, the netting must be machine made to ensure uniformity and superior strength and tautness. Handmade nets can loosen then sag.
- The knots of the netting should be stented (heat sealed) so they don't slip.
- The netting should contain maximum stabilized UV Inhibitors so sunlight and chemicals do not shrink or deteriorate the material. Make sure the material is virgin and not recycled.
- All fittings and components should be made from durable high-grade nylon, brass or stainless steel. Avoid plastic and galvanized metals that could rust.
- Pulleys should not be manufactured of any metal whatsoever. Metal central tension pulleys can weigh down the center of your net making it sag and scratch the fiberglass of your pool.
- Ensure the nets hooks are not just bent nails but precision-engineered components. This will prevent entanglement.
- Never buy a pre-cut DIY net - in my experience I have never seen one that fitted. Always measure you're net into a box shape - rectangular or square and cut the shape yourself - it's easy to do so.
- Ensure the net can be used with a roller - when I invented and patented the roller in 1982 it halved the nets removal and covering times - why make life harder on yourself?
- Optional fittings should be available so your entertainment area can be color coordinated to match, decks, copings etc… If you like the look of your pool net you will use it.
Our reasons for not recommending use of a solid swimming pool cover or a mesh pool safety cover - Through research, experience and parental feedback we have found the following:
- Solid swimming pool covers attract small children, they use it like a trampoline, even riding their bikes over it and parental feedback indicates that children have to be constantly removed from the center of pool covers.
- An aging pool cover can become brittle posing an additional drowning risk of a breaking under a childs weight.
- Solid covers can be become slippery when wet preventing a child from being able to get back off the water.
- Solid pool covers can sag and hold puddles of rainwater - as a child can drown in just 5cm - 8cm of water this is also a far from ideal situation.
- Solid pool covers obscure top to bottom visibility of the swimming pool so one cannot see what is underneath the cover.
Our reasons for not recommending a pool alarm:
Pool safety reasoning is keep children out of the water. A child already in the water activates the swimming pool alarm. It can take 3 - 5 minutes for irreversible brain damage to occur and from as little as 30 seconds for death.
Our reasons for not recommending the sole use of swimming pool safety fences:
We feel that swimming pool safety fences are great pool protection but humans are fallible, gates can be left open, pool furniture and garden equipment can be left near the pool fence providing a convenient ladder for a small child. If a child penetrates a pool safety fence the water is then totally exposed and an immediate threat.
Representatives from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Public Health Service, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia reported in a study of childhood drowning that 76% of all USA residential pools are adequately fenced.
The study suggests that if the proportion were increased by 100% most drownings of children under the age of 5 years would still not have been prevented. The study made the recommendation that additional strategies to prevent drowning other than pool fencing were needed.
The Tragic Reality
Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of injury death in the USA in the under 15's.
In 18 of the 50 states, drowning was the number one cause of unintentional injury death of children 1 to 4 years of age.
67% of all drownings occur in backyard spas, pools and bathtubs.
The majority of drowning incidents have occurred while the child's supervisor assumed the child was safely indoors.
A child can drown in less time than it takes to answer the telephone.
A child can drown in as little as 5-8cm of water in as little as 30 seconds.
Children less than 5 years of age and young people aged 15 to 24 years have the highest drowning rates.
For every child who drowns, four children are hospitalized for near-drowning.
One third of those removed from water after a near-drowning are comatose on admission, survive but suffer significant neurological impairment. Irreversible brain damage may occur after 3-5 minutes.
The annual cost of care per year in a chronic care facility for an impaired survivor of a near-drowning event is approximately
As reported by the following organizations -
The American Academy of Pediatrics - Committee on injury and poison prevention.
World Health Organization Guidelines for safe recreational water environments - Vol 2 swimming pools, spas and similar recreational water facilities.