IS YOUR CHILD SAFE IN YOUR GARDEN?
Theres nothing more important than the safety of a child when there is a pond in the garden
When it comes to child safety, open water is probably at the top of the danger list. I speak to parents and grandparents on a weekly basis. Some have new arrivals and want to make there existing pond safe, others have moved into or are moving into a new property with a pond and want to make it safe as soon as possible as ponds are a huge hazard for small children. Its not just ponds that are dangerous. A child is vulnerable any time there is water deeper than a foot and according to some safety specialists it only takes 1 inch of water to drown a child that has fallen. This is such an upsetting subject so I’m going to move on from the negative points now and concentrate on the solutions. Over the last 10 years or so there have been more and more solutions becoming available for child pond safety and thats great because variation is key when choosing something as important as this.
I grew up in South Africa, which is a pretty warm place. We were often swimming and more often than that, were exposed to open water, whether swimming pools, lakes and rivers etc. Because of this most are taught about the the dangers of water and protection is probably a little more widely used. Here in the UK its cold for more than half the year so swimming is kept mostly as an indoor activity so there isn’t the same vigilance. In South Africa one of the most common pool protection systems in a nylon net that is pulled tight over the water and fixed at points around the pool or pond. I’ve crawled onto these nets so know that they are strong enough to take the weight of a child. These nets are used here but I’ve not seen many used as child pond safety covers. I’m not sure why as they are a good option and are probably the cheapest solution when covering a pond. There are draw backs to having a net, the most prominent being deterioration of the nylon fibers over time.
The next most economical option in child pond safety covers in my opinion is the plastic grid system that sits just below or just above the pond surface. These systems are very popular because of their attractive price compared to steel pond covers. However there are some problems that might come with time when using this type of system. Most prominent being material deterioration over time. I don’t want to sound like I’m slating them because I’m not. If you’re working with a limited budget and want a system that is strong then these are great, just be aware that over time due to weather damage they do eventually start to ware and have been know to start becoming difficult to use when clips break. I’ve had to replace a few of them in the past and that can end up being quite expensive. They’re also not great for fish as fish like to come up to the surface and this limits that ability.
Now for the tough stuff, the real mccoy, cold hard steel pond safety covers. As far as pond safety is concerned, stainless steel or coated steel is by far the best material to use as it lasts longer and is much tougher than plastic and is a lot more resistant to damage or deterioration. There are quite a few options when it comes to steel safety covers, but if we break it down into two parts, decorative and non decorative. Non decorative child pond safety covers can be made by most steel fabrication companies with knowledge of the processes involved, although many companies don’t do it as it is quite a specialist product that is not very easy to make. However as long as safety regulations are followed most symmetrical pond covers (round, square and rectangle) can be made by most steel fabricators. Odd shaped ponds or ponds with rockeries may be more difficult for general fabricators but its always worth phoning around for quotes and to see what respective companies say regarding this.
Decorative pond safety covers are a specialist product that mostly, can only be made by artistic metal workers and blacksmiths. I only know of two artistic pond cover specialists, myself and Creative Pond Covers. As far as I know we are the only two companies specialising in Artistic pond covers, however there are a few blacksmiths that do make them regularly. People who specialise in a specific product/service should always have a better understanding of that product or service. Creative and myself both offer beautiful solutions to child pond safety so I encourage you to look at all the different options when making a decision as it will become a prominent feature of the garden so must be chosen carefully. Artistic pond covers are the most expensive option when covering a pond but are by far the best. Garden ponds are often focal points in the garden and can be ruined so easily by covering the pond with an ugly cover. Investing in a good quality beautifully made pond cover will not only enhance the aesthetics of your garden but will also increase the value of your house. These are pieces of practical art that will last and be of great value to you if you were to sell your house.
I hope this has been a helpful article and has helped to feel a little more comfortable with your next step in choosing the right pond safety system.