By Shane McNulty
Owner of Child Safe LLC in Colorado
Ponds can offer great beauty and appeal to a yard. They can transform your yard into a peaceful getaway providing a place to relax and escape the daily stresses of life. Ponds offer a great spot to host parties and entertain friends and family. They can also pose a great risk for small children when proper precautions are not taken. Children can drown in less than 2 inches of water! Young children always seem to be drawn towards water and adding in all the enticing features a pond offers, they are hard for kids to resist. The overall drowning rate in ponds is fairly low, however the risk increases with lapse in supervision. Luckily, there are a few safety options when it comes to childproofing a pond in a home with young children.
- Turning the pond into a “pondless waterfall.” Pondless waterfalls are a great option for those who are concerned about safety, but still want to enjoy the tranquil feeling of having a pond. A pondless waterfall provides the sounds and movement of running water with water passing through gravel or rock but there is no actual body of water. If you already have a pond, it can easily be converted into a pondless waterfall. Search your area for landscaping companies who also install ponds to assist with this option.
- Fill the pond to transform it into something else that is fun for young children, such as filling it with sand to make it a sandbox or filling it with dirt for a new flower bed.
- Installing a fence around the pond area to prevent a child’s access.
- Fences should stand at least 4 feet high with no foot or handrails to climb on.
- Ensure slats are less than 3 inches apart, the standard for juvenile gates.
- Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, making sure the latch is out of the child’s reach.
- If the bottom of the fence rests on a non-solid surface such as rock, gravel, or grass, clearance for the bottom barrier should not exceed 2 inches.
- Door alarms should be used for exterior doors when there is a pond in the yard to bring attention to an adult in case a child goes outside or they slip away from eye sight.
- Some pool installers offer a pool alarm that floats on the surface of the water and sounds off when there is a disruption to the water’s surface. While this should not be the only safety precaution taken, it would be a good option to do in addition to the fencing.
In conclusion, your pond can be a treasure for your family, but above all use common sense and plan ahead. Always be aware of other people’s houses and the dangers that may be present. Another good safety tip is to make sure your infant/child CPR training is up-to-date. The key to safety is to be one step ahead and take the proper safety measures beforehand.
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