Every year, news reports convey the tragedy of children accidentally drowning in residential swimming pools. Indeed, statistics show that approximately 375 children under the age of five accidentally drown in pools and an additional estimated 2,900 are treated in emergency rooms for near-drownings. Families of children lucky enough to survive near-drownings incur heavy medical expenses following such accidents. Unfortunately, most people find constantly watching children extremely difficult and a child may drown in a matter of minutes when a guardian or caregiver encounters even a brief distraction. The need to prevent these tragedies while at the same time allowing homeowners the convenience and ability to construct private swimming pools has led to the invention of pool safety covers. These barriers prevent children and objects from falling into pools. They thus allow homeowners to have pools without worrying about a pool's inherent danger.
These covers consist of sheet-like layers of material that encompass the entire pool area. They are available in different materials, including fabric mesh and vinyl. A set of pulleys and ropes extends fabric mesh covers over pools. The pulleys maintain tension across the cover area, easily allowing it to spread over the pool. The mesh itself is fine enough to prevent child-sized heads and bodies from falling through the fabric and its tensile strength is sufficient to support the weight of several adults, (this is, nevertheless, not recommended). Loosening the tension on the pulley's rope allows removal of the cover. Nevertheless, manufacturers of pool covers do not recommend their usage for homes with frequent pool usage as spreading and retracting the covers require much time. Covers present an ideal solution for those who wish to leave their pools unused during cold winter months. Some people choose vinyl pool covers. In addition to the safety presented by mesh covers, the material is completely opaque and non-porous so that it prevents evaporation, maintains temperature, and completely prevents falling debris from entering the pool. Also, vinyl may be operated on a track and some covers may be spread and retracted electrically. However, vinyl is a more expensive material than mesh and it may not be feasible for all pools.