According to annual statistics approximately 375 children under the age of five accidentally drown in pools and an additional estimated 2,900 require treatment in emergency rooms for near-drownings. Families of children lucky enough to survive near-drownings incur heavy medical expenses following such accidents. Even conscientious people may encounter brief distractions while watching children; but, an unattended child may drown in a matter of mere minutes.
Pool safety fences present an option for homeowners who wish to prevent such tragedies. They are manufactured in prefabricated sections and thus afford homeowners the flexibility to tailor fences to a pool's particular shape and configuration.
Pool Safety Fence Components
These fences consist of sections, usually fifteen square feet. They are made of basket-woven steel mesh with a typical tensile strength of 270 pounds per square inch (psi), easily exceeding the building codes or standards of most locations. A border that surrounds the fence on all sides with a typical tensile strength over 380 psi keeps the fence from sagging. The border is stitched onto the mesh with marine thread in a quadstitch pattern. Each section is then fastened to the next with spring-loaded hooks. Typically colors black, white, beige, tan, and green. Silver is another available color but usually more common in fence posts.
Each section connects to a post which is anchored into the ground by drilling into concrete or another hard surface, such as decking. The poles stand thirty to thirty-six inches apart and forty-two to sixty inches high. A plastic sleeve is inserted into the drill-hole first and then the foundation of the post itself inside the sleeve. Encasing the post in the plastic sleeve allows facilitates removal later. Hard plastic ground caps fit the drill holes and prevent the holes from collecting debris.
Gates represent a major concern in any fence to control access and egress, but for pools, safety becomes an issue of paramount importance. The fence itself has no purpose if a child can pass through it unsupervised. Some companies offer gates that are sturdy enough that they are able to stand alone without the support of the fence and feature automatic, magnetic latching mechanisms. Often, these gates are removable but also may be permanently anchored.
Key Concerns When Purchasing
When deciding to buy a pool fence, check that the manufacturer guarantees its products with warranties. Also ensure that the material resists the sun and mildew and uses round screws to fasten the components together, resulting in less scratching. In addition, check that the hinges attaching the gate to the fence are rust, stain, and corrosion resistant. Also, depending on your particular disposition regarding your home, you should ensure that you will be able to remove your fence, including all of its components, sections, posts, and gates. Removable fences are also usually portable so that you may take them to your next home.