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Wednesday, 16 December 2015 00:26

Play It Safe

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If you are raising a young family, you will have your children in mind when considering the ins and outs of renovating the pool. Whether you only want to make a few minor changes, or undergo a full renovation, there are plenty of ways to recreate your family pool to see your children through from tots to teens. Here, Rene Hart looks at what you should include for your children’s safety before ‘jumping in’.

POOL FENCING

Pool fencing is a vital safety barrier and is essential in preventing young children from accessing the pool without adult supervision. It limits the potential of unfortunate accidents, serious injuries and accidental drowning. A four- sided isolation fence is ideal as it separates the pool from the home and completely surrounds the area. To ensure your pool is completely safe, install fencing that complies with Australian standards, i.e. one that is designed so children cannot easily climb over, under, or through it.

Pool fencing can be made from a variety of materials, and each has its own unique advantages.
Glass fencing has become a popular choice for homeowners as it not only enhances the appearance of your pool area, but it’s also extremely durable and safe. It provides an unobstructed view of your pool area, allowing you to keep an eye on the kids, and with a smooth, solid glass surface, it’s impossible for them to climb over. Equipped with a self-closing gate and a high-positioned latch, glass fencing is a great choice.

Other material options to consider include aluminium and steel, which are durable, corrosion-resistant and require minimal maintenance. If you fancy a picket-style fence, however, wood may be the perfect option for you. The size, design and colouring of a wooden fence can be completely customised, but keep in mind that it requires more maintenance over time.

If you want the look and feel of natural wood, minus the upkeep, then composite fencing is the solution for you.

POOL DESIGN

Before you know it, your kids will be teens and their swimming pool needs will have changed. This is why it is best to pick a design that will cater to their needs from when they’re learning to swim, to when they are ducking and diving into the deep end.

Until they learn to swim, young children will spend their time in the shallow end, but as they grow and begin to swim deeper, having safety ledges within the pool is the best way to assist them. The ledges not only provide a place to stand within the deep end, but also give parents a place to sit close by. A horseshoe shape works well with most designs and is great for social interaction for when they get older. Ledges should be well defined so they can be easily spotted and help children with depth perception. They should also be non-slip to allow kids to enter and exit the pool safely.

Wading pools are ideal for young children as they are very shallow and allow them to safely have fun in the water. They can be designed in a variety of shapes and sizes and can easily be turned into a water feature once the children have outgrown them.

As they get older, kids will become more confident swimming, playing and diving in the pool, so it is important to ensure there is enough depth and width to avoid injuries. Square or rectangular pools are a good option as they provide sufficient space for ball games, swimming races and inflatable pool toys. A diving board or waterslide can also be a great source of entertainment; however, for safety reasons it is important to make sure you employ the help of a reliable company to install this equipment.

A SMOOTH FINISH

Resurfacing your pool gives it the ultimate smooth finish, as it gets rid of those sharp edges and rough surfaces, helping to avoid harmful cuts and abrasions to your children’s skin. A variety of resurfacing techniques can be used over any existing pool surface, including fibreglass, concrete, vinyl, pebbles, tiles or paint.

Fibreglass is a popular choice as it has a very smooth finish, is stain resistant and quick to apply. Plaster is an inexpensive and durable option that is also commonly used for backyard swimming pools, but the current trend for pool resurfacing is aggregate. This material is a mixture of plaster and quartz or pebbles, and creates a long-lasting attractive surface. Tiling is another ideal makeover option as it endures harsh weather conditions and looks fantastic for years. For an exciting element you should also consider including fun and trendy patterns or designs into the finish, such as mosaic-tiled dolphins, turtles or mermaids.

For a beautiful coping finish, square edges provide attractive shadow lines and also give children something more solid to grip onto than traditionally rounded coping edges. There are a number of coping options to choose from including concrete, wood decking, tile or natural stones, however, make sure it is a non-slip surface for added safety.

THOSE LITTLE EXTRAS

A pool cover is one of the most important fixtures you can have. It is not only a cost-effective way of keeping dirt and debris out, but it also adds extra protection and prevents children from falling into the pool. Children will not be able to climb over or under a properly installed pool cover and it can conveniently be removed and replaced in roughly five to ten minutes. Pool covers can also be fitted with sensory alarms that are triggered if the pool water is disturbed. This means that even if your child manages to sneak into the area, the alarm will alert you immediately if they have attempted to enter the pool.

Lighting is another great feature to have as it not only brings your pool to life after the sun has set, it increases safety by providing greater visibility the area. There are plenty of options to choose from depending on your pool design, including LED, halogen, fibre-optic, flush-mounted and multi-coloured underwater lights.

A CLEAR LOOK AT CHEMICALS

The sanitation of your pool is important to ensure your children swim in clean and safe water; however, the pool chemicals that you use must not be harmful to their health.

Chlorine is the most traditionally used method for pool sanitation as it is a simple process that ensures cleanliness of the pool water, although possible side effects include eye or skin irritation. It is also important to remember that young children are more vulnerable to toxic exposure so it is best to minimise the amount of time they spend in chlorinated pools.

Ozone is a chemical-free alternative to chlorine and uses high levels of oxygen to sanitise the water. It is a popular form of pool sanitation due to its numerous health benefits including the relief of muscle aches, enhancement of circulation, skin purification and the strengthening of your immune system. Ozone treatment is widely used around the world in public pools, hydrotherapy pools, industrial water treatment plants, and is now available for your backyard pool. The lack of harsh chemicals also helps reduce the deterioration of swimwear or your pool equipment, which means they’ll last longer.

For another natural option, saltwater chlorination eliminates the need to buy, store and handle any chemicals. It’s also considered a healthier choice for your skin and eyes.

A water recirculation and filtration system will also ensure that debris and dirt is removed from the pool, but it is important to make sure it complies with Australian pool safety standards to reduce the risk of injury to young children.

ALL DECKED OUT

It’s hard to beat lazing by the pool on a warm summer day and soaking up the sun, however, to maximise the entertainment value of your investment, it’s a good idea to install a pool deck.

If you like the timber look but not the maintenance that comes with it, composite decking is a popular and durable option. Composite decking gives you a timber appearance without worrying about twisting and warping when exposed to water from the pool. Its non-slip properties are also perfect for children.

Surrounding the pool with grass provides the perfect play area for children; however it can require a lot of upkeep and cause allergic reactions. Known for being low-maintenance, pesticide-free and aesthetically appealing, artificial turf is a great alternative.

Plants around the deck and the pool not only add to the visual appeal, they also help to slow down running children and reduce the risk of accidents, although you should avoid any prickly plant species or those that attract bees.

When you embark on the journey of renovating your pool, one of the most important things to consider, is the safety of those who will be using it. From the correct fencing to best sanitation systems, make sure you have considered the essential elements so that everyone can safely enjoy the beautiful new pool.

 

Read 6081 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 December 2015 00:11
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