How Do You Child-proof Your Water Feature?
One sure way of transforming the look of your property is by adding a water feature. A sprawling pond or pool, a thriving water garden, or a good stone outdoor fountain design can really elevate the atmosphere and change the appearance of your home. Water features can also let you do a lot of fun activities, like swimming and pond dipping, on a daily basis.
However, these additional features can also demand extra care from you. They’ll need to be cleaned and maintained every now and then. They can also be a hazard if you have small kids with you, but you can minimize the risk with the help of the right tools. Here are some of the items you can install around your pond or pool area to make it a safer space for children and pets alike:
One of the ways to make sure that your kids aren’t sneaking into the pool or pond unsupervised is by putting up a fence around the water feature. Make sure it’s securely installed and that it has no gaps where small kids can squeeze through or get trapped in. A 1.1m tall fence should be enough to deter most children.
2. Metal mesh. If your pond is too small to fence in, then you can use a metal mesh over it. The mesh should be able to support the weight of a toddler in case the child tries to step into the water. Aside from ponds, metal meshes can be used over babbling brooks and water gardens.
3. Good lighting. Make sure you can monitor your pool or pond area clearly by installing good lighting. This helps you see if anyone is trying to sneak into the pool or if the kids haven’t gotten out of the water yet.
4. Underground water basin. You can opt to install a disappearing water fountain or a fountain that has an underground water basin. This design is safer for kids as it doesn’t store water in a place that children can typically reach.
5. Sensors and alarms. Sensors can help you keep an eye on your pool area even if you’re not there all the time. There are sensors that ring the alarm when someone opens the gate to the pool, jumps into the pool, or approaches the pool.
6. Slip-resistant flooring. Pair this with good lighting and you have a better chance of avoiding slipping accidents around the fountain or near the pool.
7. Ground fault circuit interrupt (GCFI) outlets. Last but not least, you should pay special attention to the electric components of your water features. Water pumps need electricity to run, but working with water and electricity at the same time is hardly ever a good idea. A GCFI outlet makes your water features safer by automatically shutting off whenever it detects a short circuit. Also, consider burying the power cable about 12 inches underground to keep it out of sight and reduce tripping hazards in the area.
Just to be clear, even after these features have been installed, children should always—always—be supervised by their guardians when they are interacting with water. Just like how they shouldn’t be left in the bath alone, kids should always be looked after by a responsible adult when in the pond, pool, or beach.
When they get older, make sure you talk to them about water safety and explain why certain rules are followed when in the pool or pond. At the same time, make sure you set a good example by observing water safety rules yourself. This way, water safety will become a second nature to your kids.