Your Place: Swimming-pool safety; more on rusting dishwasher racks

Posted: May 19, 2012

Considering that it took an hour to regain feeling in many of my fingertips, it might not have been the brightest thing I’ve done recently.

Yet, the swimming pool in my kinfolk’s back yard in northern Connecticut looked so inviting that I spent a half hour in it, despite a water temperature of 65 degrees — just eight degrees warmer than the air.

My taste of summer reminded me of some advice about pool safety I received recently from, which is part of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Every day, 10 people die from unintentional drowning, the Centers for Disease Control reports. Of these, two will be children age 14 or younger. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14.

The commission’s pool-safety campaign emphasizes installation and maintenance of barriers to enclose the swimming-pool area.

  • The fence or other barrier should be at least four feet high. It should have no footholds or handholds that could help a young child climb it.
  • Vertical fence slats should be less than four inches apart to prevent a child from squeezing through.
  • If the fence is chain link, then no part of the diamond-shaped opening should be larger than 1¾inches.
  • The maximum clearance at the bottom of the barrier should not exceed four inches above grade.
  • For aboveground pools, there are two recommended ways to prevent young children from climbing into the pool.

The steps or ladder into the pool can be secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or a barrier such as a fence can surround the steps or ladder. Fence gates should open out from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching. The gate should be well maintained to close and latch easily. The latch should be out of a child’s reach. If a gate is properly designed, even if the gate is not completely latched, a young child pushing on the gate will at least close the gate and may actually engage the latch. The release mechanism for the gate should be at least three inches below the top of the gate on the side facing the pool.

The gate should have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the latch-release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.

Want more about safety? Check out these videos.

Question: I am planning to paint the interior of my house as well as refinish my hardwood floors. Which would you do first?

Answer:Six of one, half-dozen of the other, but if it were me, and it has been, I’d paint first and refinish second. I’ve always found it easier to remove dust from the walls than get all the paint off the floor, no matter how carefully I cover things.

Dishwasher racks revisited

 I have to do this because I have been overwhelmed by e-mailed advice for the reader dealing with rust from the deteriorating bottom dishwasher rack.

I thought this one, from Ruth Crispin, was a hoot:

“I wish the letter writer had mentioned the appliance manufacturer by name and then sent that company a copy of the printed letter. My guess is that, realizing how many people likely read The Inquirer, they’d simply replace the defective rack, as they should have from the beginning — at best requiring a minimum amount, like postage.

“Years ago when Armstrong wouldn’t replace a new, stickily defective floor, I sent them one of the bumper stickers I had printed up, reading ‘Armstrong Flaws.’

“They replaced the floor.”

From snail mail, here’s a suggestion from Anne Deely of Rydal:

“My daughter went online at Kitchen Aid, our dishwasher brand. She found a rack repair kit for about $25. This product works with all brands. It contains vinyl touch-up paint/adhesive with brush and tine tips.”

Thank you, Anne, for your advice, and, to you and everyone else, for the kind words about “Your Place.”

Questions? E-mail Alan J. Heavens at or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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