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How to make your pool safe

How to make your pool safe

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

248 guides

Both above and inground pools need a few safety features to minimise the risk of drowning, especially if you have children. From alarms to fences, safety covers to pool shelters, there are lots of ways to make pools more secure! Read on to find out how to make your swimming pool safe.

Important features

  • Safety standards
  • Pool safety fencing
  • Safety covers
  • Pool enclosures
  • Pool alarm
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UK pool safety laws

Surprisingly enough, there are no legal obligations in the UK when it comes to pool safety equipment. However, that does not mean that is is not necessary – especially if you have young children. The most common safety devices are as follows:

Alternative safety standards 

The type of pool safety equipment you need depends on whether you have an above or inground pool. If you are interested in researching safety standards, you can look to the rest of the world as an example.

In France, for example, all pool safety equipment must conform to AFNOR standards. These standards set out safety obligations for each type of device. For example: 

  • NF P 90-308 for safety covers;
  • NF P 90-309 for pool enclosures; 
  • NF P 90-306 for pool safety fencing;
  • NF P 90-307 for pool alarms.

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Pool covers

1. Pool safety covers

Pool rollers 

Pool roller covers come in a range of materials and designs. Also known as slatted covers, these safety devices are designed to roll out over the length of your pool. Strength and resistance are the key words when it comes to this type of equipment! 

Pool covers 

Please note: not all pool covers are considered safety equipment. It's important to read the description of each product fully before purchase and to check the various safety standards in place for this type of cover. Generally speaking, a safety cover should be equipped to:

  • handle the weight of one adult weighing up to 100 kg;
  • prevent young children from accessing the pool or getting beneath the cover;
  • present no danger in itself and provide no access points to children.

2. Glass pool enclosures

Also known as glass pool covers, these enclosures prevent the risk of accidents and drowning. But they'll also make pool use more enjoyable by prolonging the swimming season and increasing the pool temperature slightly. Glass pool enclosures offer a variety of different designs:

  • retractable enclosures;
  • sliding enclosures;
  • telescopic enclosures;
  • fixed enclosures.

Combined with a locking system, these enclosures can act as a real safety barrier. Like with pool covers, it's important to read into all the appropriate safety standards. The following factors should be taken into account when investing in a pool enclosure:

  • the enclosure should come with a locking system;
  • lower pool enclosures should be able to withstand the weight of an adult weighing up to 100 kg;
  • depending on the size of the structure, you may need planning permission to add an enclosure to your pool;
  • the design of the enclosure must not pose any potential safety issues to users.

3. Pool safety fencing

Pool safety fencing, like all other types of safety equipment, should meet certain safety standards. But generally speaking, they should also do the following:

  • prevent young children from accessing the pool;
  • feature childproof openings and a locking gate;
  • should not pose any potential safety issues to users;
  • measure at least 1.1 metres in height and be installed at least 1 metre from the edge of the pool

Pool fencing can be rigid or flexible and made from various materials including metal, wood, PVC or steel.

4. Pool alarms

Pool alarms are the quickest pool safety equipment to install and also the cheapest option. Unlike safety fencing, covers or enclosures, pool alarms are not 100% effective alone in that they are simply designed to alert you to a danger and will require the intervention of a third party.

There are two different types of pool alarm: 

  • infrared detectors: these alarms use infrared technology to detect any movement around the pool;
  • underwater motion or floating sensor alarms: these alarms are designed to detect any movement in the water.

Look out for the following when investing in pool alarm:

  • the pool alarm should emit a signal when there is a power issue or when it is low on battery;
  • the alarm should be activated 24 hours a day (except when the pool is in use) and shouldn't go off unless there is a real safety issue;
  • the alarm must be able to detect any falls in the water and sound the alert with a loud siren;
  • the alarm must not be able to be deactivated by children;
  • the alarm should be able to record and time stamp the 100 most recent interventions;
  • you should be able to easily control the alarm at any time (monitoring mode, default, swim mode, pause mode, etc). 

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Pool alarms

Some pool safety equipment is designed to blend into your garden décor or even make your pool more pleasant to use (such as pool enclosures) while other devices are there purely to enhance the safety of your pool.

Comparing pool safety equipment

Pool safety equipment

Advantages

Disadvantages

Possible pool types

Recommended pool types

Price

Pool enclosures

Optimal protection; increases pool temperature; prolongs swimming season

Complex installation and high cost; not always attractive

Inground and semi-inground pools

Inground and semi-inground pools

From £179

Pool safety fencing

Blocks access; attractive if chosen to match garden décor

Complex installation; can be climbed over

Inground and semi-inground pools

Above ground and steel frame pools; inground and semi-inground pools

From £29 per length

Safety covers

Provides complete pool protection

Complex installation; not always attractive

Inground and semi-inground pools

Above ground and steel frame pools

From £25 per m²

Pool alarms

Attractive (discreet); easy to install; can be used in combination with other devices

Partial protection; requires intervention

Inground and semi-inground pools

Above ground and steel frame pools; inground and semi-inground pools

From £199

Why use pool safety equipment?

While there are no laws in the UK surrounding domestic pool safety, it is your duty to ensure that your pool does not pose any danger to users.

Whether you have an inground, steel frame or above ground pool, fitting your pool with the right safety equipment is a moral responsibility. Even if you do not have a deep pool, remember that young children can drown in just 50 cm of water. Legislation is one thing; common sense is another altogether! So, between covers, enclosures, fencing and alarms, what should you go for? The answer all depends on the type of pool you have, your budget and the people who will be using your pool. But remember: the best option will always to be to use more than one piece of safety equipment.

Situation

Type of pool

Pool safety device

Household with children under 5

Inground and semi-inground pools

Pool enclosure or alarmed fencing

Above ground pools

Alarmed fencing

Household with children over 5 or no children

Inground and semi-inground pools

Safety cover or alarm

Above ground pools

Safety covers

More information

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Above ground pools

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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 248 guides

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

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