I was reading my Village of Gurnee e-newsletter this morning, and the question of the week was, “What are the requirements for installing a swimming pool or hot tub?” Now, I have no inclination to install either device. It’s too cold up here, and both items require lots of maintenance that neither I nor DH have time, energy, or inclination to manage, much less perform. But, I went to look just out of curiosity.
Having a fence and gate around it…okay, I can buy into that, for safety. Especially given that we get so much snow here, it could get covered up and someone could really hurt themselves or potentially die. I don’t buy into the attractive nuisance portion of the law, but I can buy into the need for general safety given the conditions in this area. The item that pissed me off is that you’re required to put an alarm on any door of your house that has access to the pool directly. So, if you build the fence using your house as part of the barrier (as is typical), your back door has to have an alarm on it. This isn’t a security alarm…it’s an alarm that goes off if the door is left open for more than 6 seconds, kind of like the one on some refrigerators. The alarm is explained as necessary to alert the household in case a child wanders out. It is required to be loud enough to be heard throughout the entire house.
First, there’s no provision for households that don’t have a child, like mine. Second, that’s going to be damn annoying. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to leave my screen door open temporarily to bring food in and out. (I can’t do that because of Pancake, but I want to do it.) Third, this law clearly assumes your child was raised in a barn, to borrow an old expression. How stupid is your (old/tall enough to open a door) kid that they don’t close the door behind them? I mean, first, let’s assume they know they’re doing something wrong, because, if you’re smart enough to have not only bought a pool but followed the village regs in installing this alarm, you’re not as dumb as the kid and have thus taught the kid that the pool is off-limits when they’re not with you. I mean, we are talking about a kid that is old enough to open a door by themselves…who is also old enough that you’re letting this kid wander around rooms of the house unsupervised. (It’s worth noting that I also think most parents have the good sense to teach their kids about safety around *ALL* dangerous household items, not just the pool…there are plenty of items that are far more dangerous laying about the typical home. Kids get into stuff regardless of what you teach, but, if you haven’t even made the effort, you’ve got only yourself to blame when something goes wrong, IMO.) So, given all of this, we’re then talking about protecting a kid who, knowing all of this, is so stupid that (s)he, knowing that there’s an alarm there (because you’re also required to test it regularly) and knowing you don’t want the kid going there, goes out the door and doesn’t close it.
So basically, this is a useless alarm. Any kid that could trigger the alarm is going to very likely know how to *not* trigger the alarm and/or not trigger the alarm out of a taught reflex to close exterior doors behind them. Who is this alarm really protecting? Well, I guess it could protect me from accidentally letting my cat out. I guess by that logic, if an adult leaves the door open, it reminds them to close it. But, then I’d have to assume than an adult parent is dumber than a child, and I’d hate to do that.