Need help. Just bought a house next to a pool owner (Update in post #33) - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-01-2010, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello mamas,

I just accepted an offer on a new home just a few weeks ago. While we were having the home inspection done we found that there was a semi-inground pool in the neighbor's yard. When we were looking at the house we could not see it because from our yard, it looked like a large deck. I am totally freaked out now since I have two three year old and I am terrified of anything happening. I am sick to my stomach about this. There is a small wooden fence surrounding the pool but I am not sure about any locked gates. They have recently installed a new three or four foot fence next to our yard. This has really got me worried since I constantly hear about children drowning in the neighbor's pool. My husband does seem too worried. Do you think that it would be rude to ask if they installed a locking fence door (at our expense)?

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Old 07-01-2010, 04:39 AM
 
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Since your kids are 3, I would plan on watching them closely when they are in the back (and front) yard. You said you have a fence? I'd keep a lock on the gate. Also, make sure the kids can't unlock any doors inside the house (good idea regardless of the neighbor's pool).

I wouldn't be too worried, I guess. We have neighbors with pools and hot tubs and some w/no fences at all - the houses are 1-2 acres apart, though.

I don't see what it would hurt to ask your neighbors if they would install a locked gate.

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Old 07-01-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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Do you think that it would be rude to ask if they installed a locking fence door (at our expense)?
I say very rude- it is your problem, not theirs, you put a gate/fence in your yard.

I would not think to ask someone to do that on their property.
I don't see this starting off on a good footing as far as neighbor relations go.

 

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Old 07-01-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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I wouldn't ask the existing neighbours to change anything, even at your expense. I just don't think it makes a good first impression. *I* bought the house next door, *I'm* worried about my kids in your pool, therefore *you* must change something to make me feel they are safe. Even if it's the only thing you will ever ask of them, they're not going to know that. If I were you, I'd put a fence up around YOUR yard, with whatever type of gate (or none) that you choose.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
it is your problem, not theirs, you put a gate/fence in your yard.
I agree with this. If it worries you that much then why not have a fence/locking gate installed around your property?

ETA- my feelings on this are because even if you do get the neighbors to put a lock on the fence you don't know that it's going to be locked. Somebody could forget to lock it and then.... oops.... your baby finds it that day and you weren't prepared because you thought there was a lock on it. I would never rely on somebody else to protect my child like that. I would definitely look into getting a fence with a lock on YOUR property so you can check the lock every time you let your kiddos outside.

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Old 07-01-2010, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i am not asking them to fence their pool. i am asking them to place a locking gate at the top of stairs leading to the pool (at my expense) if they don't have one. I know I would want the make sure no one would have to go through the pain of losing their child to terrible accident. Things happen even to the best of parents. But hey, that's just me. I could not see the pool from our yard and you can only see it from one small window in the house. I am having a lock on the fence. I wanted to add privacy fence to the yard but they just installed a small picket fence (since our yard connect)I just wanted a little added protection. I guess I will put a privacy fence next to their picket fence. I guess that will make a even better impression. I was trying to avoid that.

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Old 07-01-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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It probably would be best for your neighbor to cover him/herself and have the yard secured, but your child is your responsibility, and thus your yard should be the secured one.
Also, that should be regardless of the pool issue. You could get your neighbors to put a lock on the pool - but what about your kid possibly getting out of the yard, into the street, etc etc etc.

If you are concerned about the impression you are making, why not just say hello to the neighbors and let them know you have a little one, and that's why you are getting new fencing? Trust me, saying "hi, please let me install something on your property" would make a FAR worse impression.

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Old 07-01-2010, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, I wouldn't just go up them and ask them right away. I have better social skills than that.... I think. They may have one already, so I will find out. I just wanted to avoid building a larger fence right next to their brand new fence. I thought that would be worse.

I am planning to put smal fence alarm on our end right now.

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Old 07-01-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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I think your best bet is to fence your yard. I'm not sure how that makes a bad impression. You have a young child. Lots of people have fenced yards. It's not weird or uncommon. It's not like you're going to build a fence 18 feet high from concrete block and put razor wire at the top. As long as it's not an eye sore, I can't see the problem.

Aside from that, as someone has already said - even if they install a locking gate, there's no way to be sure they use it and don't end up propping it open or just forget (we have as safety gate around our pool and our whole yard is fenced around that. If a kid wanders into our fenced back yard - which I would NOT appreciate, btw - we still have a second gate. The guy who installed the gate warned us that sometimes people get lazy and start propping it open which then makes the whole thing useless). At least if you fence your yard, you know you lock the gates.

When we bought this house, I was so excited to have the pool but my daughter was 18 months at the time. The first thing we did was get one of those alarms that goes off if something more than 9 pounds hits the water and then we called to have the safety gate installed. It was expensive and ugly but it's worth it. I get the panic over a pool next door, but I really think it's up to you to solve this problem from your end.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boopie2001 View Post
Hello mamas,

My husband does seem too worried. Do you think that it would be rude to ask if they installed a locking fence door (at our expense)?
Yes, it would be rude. Did you say if you have a fenced yard? If your yard isn't fenced, you should have that done right away. I have no idea what it would cost to fence in a whole yard, but it's probably worth the peace of mind.

I live on a block with 21 homes. Of those 21 homes, 13 have pools in the backyard. So, to me, a neighbor with a pool doesn't seem like a big deal.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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Having been in a similar position my response is you teach your children not to trespass on someone elses property. It's a lesson they need to learn anyway and at three they can learn that they have to stay in theur yard and not climb over fences.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hear you all. I just felt that it was going to be an eyesore if I put higher fence right next to their fence, but I have to protect my kids. I am going to put a gate alarm on our fence just as added protection. I am definitely going to teach them about going on other people's property.

The fear stems from losing a very young cousin a few years ago and having memories of when I was 4 or 5 years old and unlocked the front door and walked out of the house when my mother accidently feel asleep on the couch (she was extremely tired and overworked). I was found by a policeman over a quarter of a mile away from my home. I was on my way to find my friend's house.

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Old 07-01-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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Is the 3-4ft fence loose or anything? Is there any reason to suspect your 3yo's will climb over the fence? Can your kids slide between the fence posts?
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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MENDING WALL

Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill

 

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Old 07-01-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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Is there a pool fence law there?

Here you MUST have a fence of some sort around your pool that kids cannot access (it doesnt have to lock, it just has to block people from wandering in). Or some sort of pool cover thing. We have a screened porch thing with our pool in it so people cant come in unless they open our doors.

Ds also took ISR and he has full acess to the pool and I am not one bit worried about him (of course he is supervised, but I dont feel like I have to hover over him when we are outside)
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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Wow, I live in a town where everyone has a pool. We don't but, the neighbors on both sides of us do. I would never, ever even consider asking my neighbor to do anything to their property to ensure my children didn't go over onto their property and get into their pool. My children are my responsibility. If you're concerned, secure your property but don't ask your neighbors to modify theirs to suit your needs.
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Amcal, I am not asking to modify so I can have a pretty view or something like that. I am talking about safety. We live in an area with a high number of children. I know many people are only concerned about themselves. I think if people thought about the safety of ALL children, not just their own, things would be a lot better. Oh, and in Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of death for children four and under.

Leighi123, thanks for the resource. There wasn't an instructor in our area. I will be getting swimming lessons for them both of them regardless.

The good thing is that I can still get out of the deal if I really need or want to. I just lose my ernest money.

Thank you for everyone's opinion, but I think this post has run it's course.

Thanks again everyone. Have a good day.

SAHM to a set of beautiful twins :, one beautiful angel baby (baby c), and one crazy furbaby :
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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not rude at all, here legally you have to have a 4 ft fence and locking gate. call the city hall and find out. if they dont have one just report it and they will get a notice to install ne.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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I am not asking to modify so I can have a pretty view or something like that. I am talking about safety. We live in an area with a high number of children. I know many people are only concerned about themselves. But I think if people thought about the safety of ALL children, not just their own, things would be a lot better.
But you're making the assumption that they haven't secured the pool for safety reasons.

IMO if you like the house, the neighbors having a pool shouldn't be a deal breaker.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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so many areas do not have zoning regarding pools,etc., you can do all you want, get the neighbor to make changes and they up and selling and the new owner can do what they want--

in the end without zoning regulations you are not in the position to dictate

the one who has to look after your children is you

 

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Old 07-01-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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I find this whole thing a bit odd...bu then I live in a rural area were people have ponds and streams and such on their property, and you can't exactly put a locking gate on those Keeping kids away from water features is an individual responsibility; gates in your own yard, child latches on your doors, etc.

But then, my parents live in the suburbs and have a pool, and the first thing they did was make make sure we all knew to lock the gate because they were afraid neighborhood children might wander in, and after we had our kids they installed a second fence to separate the pool from the house.

I think it would be appropriate to contact them, let them know you're considering moving to the neighborhood, and ask if they have a gate installed. If you like the house, I'd also rethink backing out just because of the pool- there's no guarantee that a neighbor somewhere else won't build a new pool shortly after you move in.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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I wouldn't let the pool be a deal breaker, unless you foresee yourself not supervising your child in the future (meaning you'll allow them to free range or whatever). We have a pool (and trampoline and play structure) and are known as friendly, child-welcoming neighbors, and we've never had a child come into our yard w/o asking first.

Also, OP, just for your own peace of mind, no matter where you move, get one of those Radio Shack door alarms that go off when the door opens.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are going to get an alarm for our fence if we go with the deal. And like Carrie said, I am not sure that the resident hasn't put a safety gate on already. We are going to have the roof inspected on Saturday so we are going to take a closer look then.

I really love the house. I just felt heartbroken because I got the house because I thought I was going to be able to let my kids run around the yard while I sit out and read a magazine on the deck. So much for a little relaxation, at least for a little while.

Actually, we have a small creek in the back of our current home and we have no fence. There are bushes right in front of the creek. We are always diligent about watching them, though. And yes, I know they can walk out the door and end up in the creek. I am just a worse senario person.

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Old 07-01-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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I don't think there's anything so bad about asking whether their gate locks (although even if they say yes, of course you can't assume it's always locked). They might appreciate the opportunity to add a lock rather than have a 6-foot privacy fence go up next to their smaller picket fence. I wouldn't be offended if a new neighbor asked about something like that.

ETA: I think you'll still be able to sit out there with a magazine while the girls play. I'm not sure how the pool specifically changes that. If your yard isn't fenced, then they could get to the road too, right? So having to watch and make sure they don't go in the road is the same, to me, as having to watch and make sure they don't go in the neighbor's yard/pool, and once you get settled and comfy I think both could be managed with a magazine -- when I sit outside with my kids, I can see them in my periphery and keep an ear tuned into them pretty easily, and if they disappear around a certain corner I always notice and follow to see what they're doing.

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Old 07-01-2010, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to thank everyone for their replies. I got a wide range of opinions and I really appreciate the help. As for those whose who said that I did not have a right to ask another to modify their area, you have a point. However, I think I am going to take the chance and ask if they have a locking gate. Hopefully the problem is already solved.

I am very good about watching my kids...actually, I'm probably too protective of them. I'll definitely add the door and fence alarms just to be safe.

I really did appreciate everything.....even the poem "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost.

Thanks everyone. Have a good evening.

SAHM to a set of beautiful twins :, one beautiful angel baby (baby c), and one crazy furbaby :
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:03 AM
 
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Is your yard fenced?

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Old 07-02-2010, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yes. we share a fence three other neighbors. The two other fences are kind of shabby though and I think they are only four feet. The neighbor with just installed a new fence on the third side. My son is a climber so makes me kind of worried.

I just read how a three year old climbed his fence and drowned in the neighbor's pool.

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Old 07-03-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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Depending on where you live, there is often strict regulations about what kind of fence and security needs to be around a pool. I would check into local regulations about where you live and make sure their pool fence is up to regulation. Beyond that, I think that anything else you want to do needs to be on your property or you will likely offend your neighbors. I don't think there is anything wrong with letting them know your concerns at some point after you have met them--- they might come up with an even better solution that you have not thought of.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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I think that if your kids are likely to escape the house and try to get in to the neighbor's pool, the door alarms are a good idea. But I would make an effort not to overreact, because there are always dangers, and that's why little kids need to be supervised. Your neighbor on the other side might have a big bag of rat poison in their unlocked shed, who knows?

I'm confused about the need for a taller fence-- if your son could climb the 3-4 foot fence, couldn't he get over the gate at the top of the stairs to the pool? Remember that your kids are growing and changing, and in two years, the situation will be completely different.

If you do talk to your new neighbors about the pool, I would be careful not to assume that they are careless, or haven't considered safety issues.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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I just felt heartbroken because I got the house because I thought I was going to be able to let my kids run around the yard while I sit out and read a magazine on the deck.
I don't get why you can't do this, if your yard is fenced.
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