Safety Guidelines for Residential Pools
The best child safety fence completely surrounds the pool. Ideally you will have a four-sided fence that follows all other guidelines in this post. Sometimes, pool fences have been installed that only enclose the pool on three sides. These fences typically use the house as an enclosure for the final side. When this is the case the door leading to the pool is a potential area of concern. The best thing to do here is to add a door alarm.
A door alarm should be installed on any door that allows direct access to a pool. These should activate within 7 seconds and continue to alert for at least 30 seconds. They are also quite loud measuring at least 85 decibels from 10 feet away. Finally, they need to have an automatic reset feature. This deactivates the alarm for up to 15 seconds to allow adults and supervised children to pass through before resetting.
There are also a lot of specifics on the dimensions required for child safety fences. These Safety Guidelines for Residential Pools are intended to prevent children from being able to go over, under, or through the fence.
Children love to climb, so limiting their ability to get over a safety fence is important. Child safety fences need to be at least 48 inches above the ground, but ideally should be at least 60. A general rule of thumb is to keep the horizontal framing pieces inside the pool enclosure rather than on the outside. This prevents children from being able to stand on these pieces and pull themselves up and over. However, if there is enough vertical distance (45 inches) between the two horizontal pieces you can install them on the outside of a fence.
If you choose a chain link or latticework fence it’s important to consider the openings in the fencing material. With a chain link fence the opening should be no more than 1 ¼-inch square. If slats are installed between the chain link these openings should be no greater than 1 ¾-inch. For a latticework fence the greatest distance or opening should not be larger than 1 ¾-inches. This will help prevent children from gaining foot and handholds on the fencing material and reduce the risk of climbing. Additionally, make sure that there are no surfaces within reach of the fence that children can use to climb over.
To prevent children from going under a safety fence, there should be no more than four inches between the bottom of the fence and the ground. If the safety fence is installed over soft ground such as grass or soil, it’s recommended that this clearance is no more than two inches.
Finally, it’s important to keep children from being able to go through or get stuck in a safety fence. The general rule of thumb is to ensure that no openings in the fence can allow a four-inch diameter sphere from passing through. This is based off of the head and chest size of young children.
Gates are another potential weak point in a safety fence barrier. As such there are guidelines to follow to keep them as safe as possible. These gates should open outward from the pool. This means if the gate is not fully latched and a child is trying to access the pool, they are more likely to push forward closing the gate. If a gate is installed opening towards the pool a child pushing to gain access will be able to open a gate that’s not fully secured. Additionally, these gates should be both self-closing and self-latching. These features ensure that the gate fully closes and latches behind you when you leave.
All these other precautions are to ensure that children cannot access the pool without an adult present. However, these don’t do any good if an adult is not actively watching children as they swim. Taking some precautions means that you and your children can have fun in the pool without worrying about the added risks of accidental drowning. Let us help you ensure that your home and pool are safe so you can get back to the things that matter.
Adult supervision is the most important thing to keeping kids safer around water. Adults should always have eyes watching over all the children around the pool at all times.
There is no substitute for adult supervision, however pool fences and locking gates can go a long way in keeping kids safe around the swimming pool.
Swimming lessons are a great way to prepare children for the pool and it having adults trained in CPR is important incase of emergencies.