Pond Nets

Pond & Garden Water Safety

(Pond nets are the best solution)

Young children are fascinated by water; whether it be in a pond, paddling-pool, bucket, puddle or swimming pool, kids are drawn to it and will readily investigate

This natural inquisitiveness brought about the deaths of 68 UK children aged 1-6 years, in garden ponds alone, between 1995 and 2005. Most of those deaths were preventable

Many of these tragic accidents occurred when a supervising adult became momentarily distracted, but 100% supervision of a mobile toddler is next to impossible - those little ones can move surprisingly fast! - and thus it is vital that steps be taken to minimise drowning risks in any space where children play. Even a shallow pond can take the life of a young child. Many children have drowned in just a few centimetres of water

What causes these child deaths?

The group of kids at the greatest risk of drowning are those aged 1-2 years. Risk decreases with age and there are three main reasons for this: -

  • Between the ages of one and two a child's mobility increases at a fast, but irregular, rate. Around this age a child can evade supervision and find themselves in life-threatening situations astonishingly swiftly
  • Although mobility increases rapidly at this early age, a child's co-ordination and stability are still not fully developed: - i.e. they fall over quite often! An unsupervised child who is in the vicinity of a pond can stumble and fall into the water in a heartbeat. If no-one is there to pull them out the child can drown in a couple of minutes
  • Around the age of 4 - 5 kids begin to grasp the concept of 'danger' and pay attention to warnings given by parents and carers.  They are less likely to approach areas of danger and more prone to obeying their parents or guardians

Garden Safety Advice

The garden should be checked for all hazards regularly, but especially drowning hazards. Anything that holds rainwater should be emptied and inverted, or sealed-off to prevent kids gaining access

A young child associates a paddling pool with fun and will be drawn to it, empty or full. Always drain and invert paddling pools at the end of the play-day

Although garden ponds have great ecological and aesthetic benefits, parents of children aged under 6 years are advised to temporarily fill ponds. The area can be used as a sand-pit, 'kids flower patch' or something similar until vulnerable children have passed the greatest 'at risk' age

Supervision

In the majority of back garden or garden pond deaths, a breakdown in supervision was a contributing factor. Parents must be vigilant, and constantly watch young children, if they have a garden pond. The pond must be made inaccessible to any child who may momentarily escape parental supervision

Fencing

Fencing-off the pond is an obvious solution but fences can lead parents into a false sense of security. However, fences spoil the view of the pond and are not a popular choice with pond-owners

A pond fence, just like a pool fence, must be high enough and of such a design that it prevents access by young children and pets. Safety Organisations recommend a fence of vertical bars no more than 100mm (4") apart. The fence must be at least 1.2m in height. If there is an access gate it must be of a similar height and design to the fence and be kept locked at all times

(Gates fitted to Swimming Pool Safety Fences are fitted with extended latch mechanisms that are beyond the reach of young children.)

Pond Grilles

Purpose-made safety grilles can be used to form a safety barrier for a garden pond. Consider the following points when installing a safety barrier to your pond: -

The safety barrier must be firmly secured and regularly checked for signs of wear/tear or deterioration, it must be able to bear the weight of a child and still remain above the surface of the water at all times

It must be immune from corrosion to avoid poisoning the pond environment

The barrier should be kept in place until the child can recognise and understand the concept of danger

Pond Nets

Inexpensive, black polypropylenem Safety Nets, firmly fixed to anchor points around the edges of the pond, are the safest and most aesthetically pleasing solution to pond safety. Such nets are purpose-made to prevent child drowning and are very easy to install

One advantage of a net, when compared to a fence, is that it allows full visibility of the pond, plants and water features and yet the entire area is completely safe for kids and pets.   Pond plants grow up between the lines of mesh and the overall effect is to disguise the barrier to the point where the black netting material  becomes almost invisible. Pond nets also prevent herons and other birds from poaching the fish!

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Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©