Is There A Pool Cover That Is Child Proof?
Let me be very clear before I write anything else…I don’t think there is anything in this world that is completely child proof! All of us who have children know that no matter what we do, kids find a way to make anything NON-child proof!
With that in mind, I can tell you that “yes”…there are pool covers that are safer than others and are as close to child proof as you can get. I will discuss this in detail below…but always remember that adult supervision is always going to be the best prevention and the best “child-proofing”possible.
Ok, to get a pool cover that is as close to child proof as you can get, you need to look for an ASTM certified pool cover. An ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certified pool cover is a swimming pool cover that meets or exceeds specific safety guidelines that are spelled out in the ASTM F1346-91 (2010) Standard, which covers the Standard Performance Specification for Safety Covers and Labeling Requirements for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs…NOTE: the (2010) is the last time this particular standard was updated. The standard itself was established in 1991 I believe, which is why it has the “91” in the standard itself, so make sure any pool cover you purchase, if you are looking for a safety or child proof type pool cover, carries this certification with the (2010).
The ASTM Certification establishes requirements for safety covers for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, and wading pools, and states that when correctly installed and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, are certified to be manufactured with the “intent” of reducing the risk of drowning by inhibiting the access of children under five years of age to the water. Some of the qualifications for the ASTM standard and to be classified as a certified pool cover under ASTM F1346-91 (2010) are:
- A static load test for weight support. The cover should be able to hold a weight of at least 485lbs (2 adults and 1 child) to permit rescue operation.
- A Perimeter Deflection Tests for entry or entrapment between the cover and the side of the pool. The cover must demonstrate that any opening is sufficiently small and strong enough to prevent the test object being passed through.
- The Surface Drainage Test which safeguards against a dangerous amount of water collecting on the cover’s surface.
- Labeling requirements must include basic consumer information such as the warranty information, the appropriate warnings as described in the standard, and acknowledge the product as a safety cover.
My best interpretation and tie into the original question that this post is answering, is that “inhibiting the access to the pool water”, “able to hold a weight of at least 485lbs”, “The cover must demonstrate that any opening is sufficiently small and strong enough to prevent the test object (CHILD) being passed through”, is as close as we are going to get to the meaning of child proofing.
To help narrow down your search for ASTM certified pool covers…there are really only a few types of pool covers that can be certified because they have to follow the guidelines as stated above. So, if you are looking for a child proof type pool cover, stay away from floating covers, solar covers, bubble covers or any covers that don’t seal around the edges and just float on the waters’ surface, these are more vapor barriers and energy and water saving type covers. Look for covers that fit into the ASTM certified category such as Automatic Swimming Pool Covers, Solid pin down covers, some mesh and some net covers…I say “some” because I have never been a fan of a pool cover that allows the water to come up through it and pool around the weight of the object standing, sitting or in the case of small children, crawling on the top of the pool cover. However, regardless of my feelings or opinions, many of these types of covers do carry an ASTM certification.
NOTE: Accidents still happen, and it is important that you supervise your children at all times when around the pool.
My favorite and most recommended ASTM certified type of a pool cover is the automatic swimming pool cover. The main reason is in its name…AUTOMATIC! What this means to you is that because it is so convenient and easy to use….you will use it! Pin down covers, mesh and net covers, although ASTM certified, require work to un hook them from approximately every two feet around the entire perimeter of the pool every time you want to remove it or put it back on. This is convenient if you are opening or closing your pool for the season…but for daily use…highly improbable that it will be done on a daily or hourly basis.
ASTM certified automatic swimming pool covers use a key or touchpad (opening/closing mechanism) which is kept out of the hands of children, but allows you to open and close the pool within seconds.
Although not recommended, several children can stand on an automatic pool cover with proper water level, and as such, there is little to no risk of your child falling through an automatic pool cover if they are well kept/maintained. This means the pool is pretty much “child proof” and you kids are safer around your pool when the pool is not in use and the pool cover is closed.
In closing, just as a rule of thumb, nothing should be blindly accepted as child proof. Kids are pretty crafty, and on a good day they can usually circumvent most of the constraints placed on them.
If you have any other questions about ASTM safety covers or ASTM certified Automatic Swimming Pool Covers, or are interested in getting one for your pool, call us at 800-369-5152 or click below and we’ll contact you as quickly as possible.