While there is pressure to pass legislation that governs pool safety fences nationwide, there is not yet any government mandated regulations. There are, however, some states that have rules and guidelines in place including Florida, Texas, and California.
In Texas, pool fence requirements are primarily the responsibility of counties, townships, and local municipalities. There is a state-wide law that mandates that any laws in effect for public swimming pools and their fences must also apply to private swimming pools. Texas, along with Florida and California, uses the guidelines set by the Consumer Product and Safety Commission as the groundwork for its pool fence laws.
These guidelines list requirements for fencing and gates surround in-ground and above ground pools. Fences surrounding in-ground pools need to be a minimum of four feet tall. Gaps and openings in the fences (whether they be between rails or between the fence and the ground) cannot be greater than four inches in any direction. In addition, the horizontal rails or beams of the fence must be on the inside of the fence so they can’t be used as means to climb over the fence.
Above ground guidelines are slightly different since the walls of the pool often serve as a barrier to access. However, if the height of the pool walls is less than four feet, then additional fencing must be installed. Since most above ground pools have stairs for easier entry, these stairs need to be removable or able to be raised, or they too must have a fence around them.
Perhaps the most important standards are those for gates. Open gates are the leading cause of accidental pool drowning of young children. Most laws require that the gates too be a minimum of four feet tall and meet the same spacing requirements as pool fencing. Most importantly – the gates must be self closing and self latching. The handle and latch used to open the gate must be high on the gate and must be installed on the inside of the gate.
While these laws are only widely enforced in a handful of states, there are counties nationwide that require pool owners to comply with similar standards. Check with your local government to make sure you are adhering to the proper standards.
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Tags: pool fences, pool gates, pool safety fences, pool safety gate, swimming pool gates