Last weekend a toddler fell into a nearby pool in Marcellus, Michigan, and it appears that the family dog saved the child from drowning. For anyone who appreciates dogs, it is a heartwarming story but the underlying story is truly terrifying: a life was almost lost.
Just about every parent has had the experience of turning their back on their child for only the briefest of moments only to find that the child has instantly gotten into some kind of mischief. Usually this is something minor, like spilling a full bag of flour over the kitchen floor or throwing a flower pot off the deck, but every so often, the child gets themself into lethal danger. Children are quick and unpredictable. This is a fact of life. The one thing we can predict, though, is that reducing the availability of hazards reduces the chances of serious injury. If you own a pool — both for the sake of your own household and pets but also for the sake of any visiting children or pets, or even for innocent babes who may wander over uninvited (yes, they should be supervised, but noting that it wasn’t your responsibility would be of little comfort if the unthinkable were to occur) — it is of enormous importance that the pool be inaccessible without an adult present. This means getting a fence that is designed and built to pool safety standards which has a gate and locking mechanism that also conform to pool safety fence specifications.
The video shows the dog playing with the baby and the dog looks just the type to be able and willing to perform a heroic act, but the video also shows that the pool has an incomplete fence. There is a wood fence, but there is no gate and the fence is only low — not enough to keep a child or animal out of the area.
We don’t know the story behind the pool — who owned it and what their intention was for the fence — but for anyone with a pool this as a cautionary tale about the tragedy that can happen if you do not have a high, lockable fence for your pool. The correct fence could save a life, and could have saved that family some moments of pure terror.
Remember: in pool safety your fence is part of your defense.