- are vital for getting in and out of the water safely and yet are also one of the most dangerous areas of the pool
Over 80% of falls occur on or near the ladders and steps as swimmers are getting into or out of the water
Ladders must be firmly secure; cement and tiled steps must be non-slip and free from obstructions
Asymmetric ladder steps (one handrail higher than the other) are much safer than symmetric steps as they prevent kids from swinging on them
One far-too-common pool accident is when a child (or adult) swings on the top of the handrails of symmetric steps and loses their grip because they have wet hands.
If they are on the 'back-swing:- they probably just fall off and bruise their knees and pride but, if they are on the 'forward' swing, they fall into the pool and the back of the head impacts on the pool coping with potentially fatal results
Another excellent safety innovation is the double-width top step (just about visible in the picture above) which prevents bathers’ legs from being trapped between the steps and the wall of the pool
Ladders can easily, and inexpensively, be retro-fitted to any pool
Tiled Pool Steps
It is very important that tiled step 'treads' are laid with non-slip tiles
Over 80% of all 'pool-fall accidents and fatalities' happen at the steps, when swimmers are entering or leaving the pool.
Steps get a lot of use from anyone who uses a pool - and not just for getting in and out of the water.
Steps are the best place for the swim-supervisor to sit and relax; where they can be as close as possible to the kids they're watching out for
Steps also provide different depths of water so that kids of all ages can play safely, thus building their pool-confidence and water skills
Steps must have rounded 'noses'; falling onto rounded steps is a far less painful experience (if and when a person DOES slip)
Additionally, the edge of each step should be marked with a contrasting line of tiles, or a non-slip stripe in a painted pool. This allows a bather to see where the steps are and further reduces the possibility of a painful accident
Steps can be retro-fitted to most pools, either by draining the pool and physically building steps or by installing any of the several add-on modular models now available
A handrail helps swimmers to get into, and especially out of, the pool by giving them a firm handhold to grip
This is a particularly helpful accessory for elderly swimmers; and we're pretty much all going to be elderly swimmers one day - so we might as well install a handrail sooner rather than later, get the benefit of having this useful item and reduce the chances of falling when exiting the pool
One point to remember about ladder steps and handrails is that they can get really hot in the sun - far too hot to get a firm grip. Have a small, wet towel nearby, ready to cool the handrail if necessary. Just drape the towel over the hot metal for a few moments and the problem is solved, if only temporarily. A soaked oven glove, tied to the handrail, can also be used to protect hands from the heat
Some models of handrails are available with a rubber sleeve that provides some insulation
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Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©