Pool safety is issue into which landscapers should plunge

You can bet Total Landscape Care keeps a close eye on the magazine’s Facebook page (which is ably managed by TLC’s associate editor, Jill Odom), and it sure is good to see a recent story about safety being spread around there.

While last week’s story focused on power tools, landscape contractors also have a stake in remembering that May is National Pool Safety Month. I was reminded of that by a product release from an Australian company, D&D Technologies, which has an office in Huntington Beach, California.

D&D Technologies says its LokkLatch products include a model for every gate material and most applications. Photo: D&D TechnologiesD&D Technologies says its LokkLatch products include a model for every gate material and most applications.
Photo: D&D Technologies

It’s aimed at landscapers who do outdoor construction involving, or at least surrounding, pools. D&D Technologies makes gate latches, locks and other hardware, among other products.

“In the U.S., drowning is the number-one cause of unintentional death for children between ages 1 and 4 and the second-leading cause for those between ages 5 and 14,” said Jim Paterson, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing for North and South America.

Since the construction of outdoor living spaces began to blossom, more and more landscape contractors have made it their business to hone their hardscaping skills. Certainly where residential and multi-family commercial work is concerned, those jobs often include an existing pool or the construction of one.

We may well have included D&D Technologies’ product offering in the magazine without the reminder about pool safety, but there’s no better time than early May to start beating the drum about keeping unsupervised children away from the water.

Besides, a landscape professional who examines products such as D&D’s MagnaLatch or TruClose carefully is probably going to be rewarded for educating himself, especially in talking with clients about a design’s attention to safety.

Tragically, we’ll be hearing news about young children drowning in the next few months. I shudder at the thought as much as you do. If nothing else, spread the word among your industry colleagues that pool safety is a natural “cause” for companies that do outdoor-living projects.

D&D Technologies is a founding member of an organization called the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. To see landscape contractors get behind such efforts would be a natural.

And let’s face it: Anything that raises awareness about the No. 1 cause of accidental death among toddlers is worth the attention of all industries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following tips about pool and spa safety:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water.
  • Teach children basic water safety tips.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
  • Install a 4-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
  • Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know.
  • Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.

David Rountree is the editor of Total Landscape Care.

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