When we decided to shop for a house with a pool, the first thing I did was do a deep dive on pool safety. If you are moving to a house with a pool (or even staying in one for vacation or with family) and have small children, I would recommend you take your own deep dive. In this post, I won’t be sharing any traumatic stories, but I felt it was extremely valuable to read them. I strongly recommend reading these types of stories if you have children and are in the market for a home pool. They gave me an immediate sense of urgency and erased any gray area about how important pool safety is. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under 4 years old. In this post, I will share the two most important steps we took for our family’s safety. I am not an expert, I am just a mom with a pool.
Pool Safety Fence
A pool safety fence is non-negotiable. It is the best way to statistically improve safety in your pool. In many places, pool safety fences are required by law. Even if it’s not required, in my opinion adding a pool safety fence is a top priority.
I understand that they are not beautiful (although some are better than others). In the future, I would ideally like to upgrade ours to a white iron fence that’s custom designed. For now, I found the best looking option I could and ordered it as soon as I found out we were moving. If you have to do a temporary option, just remember, an ugly fence is better than no fence.
After installing our fence, we taught our children that they are never allowed to touch or open the gate and that only adults can do that. Having a permanent safety fence has been the best choice for us because we spend a lot of time on our back porch.
Here’s the fence, gates and components we used to add our safety fence:
As soon as we moved in, we began traditional swim lessons with a private teacher in our home pool (this was still during peak pandemic—so that is one reason why we chose private lessons). We did this 4-5 days a week for a month and half to get started. We moved in August and started lessons literally as our movers were moving boxes in the first day. When spring rolled around again, we did another focused month of daily lessons.
We debated between ISR and traditional swim lessons. One of our children was a little too old for ISR swim lessons so we opted for traditional swim lessons for both of them. We made sure that learning to float safely was the first skill taught in their swim lessons.
Private swim lessons are considerably more expensive, but being able to get the frequency where our kids learned really fast was important to us. It was probably the best thing we spent money on last year and I could probably list 100 things I would rather remove from our budget than private swim lessons. They were worth it.
Note: I will leave it to you to research ISR vs. traditional swim lessons for your children. They are very age dependent. I have heard that some ISR lessons teach some swimming, while many only teach floating, so keep this in mind. My advice is to communicate your goals really clearly to your child’s swim instructor. Our goal was increasing safety from pool accidents.
There are a million more things I could include here. We haven’t tried a water alarm and we don’t have a pool cover (our pool is kidney shaped, but if it was rectangle I would have installed a remote cover for sure). In my opinion, a pool cover is not a replacement for a safety fence because most people will not leave it covered at all times, but do your own research.
Ultimately, pool safety is SO IMPORTANT. Although I am not an expert, I do want to share that becoming responsible pool owners is something we put a lot of time, money and energy into. If you don’t want to be bothered with all these things, I would simply just not get a home pool.
Our family has been making so many amazing memories in our home pool and it’s been totally worth all the extra precautions and responsibilities. Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to add your own experiences in the comments. xx- Elsie