Pool Fences - Pool Safety Fencing
Pool fencing has strict safety requirements but regulations do vary from area to area. Check with your local building codes for the minimum requirements.
The statistics for children accidentally drowning in pools are deadly serious – in over 20 percent of the United States cases, it is the first or second most prevalent cause of death for children under five years old.
In a study conducted with data from Arizona, California and Florida, over three quarters of the time, children had been observed five minutes or less before being missed and then discovered in the pool (source: US Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Experts agree that pool fencing should have the following characteristics:
- Fence height should be minimum four feet. Higher fencing is available, but you need consider the fact that if a child can climb a four foot fence, they're usually able to climb a five foot one as well.
- If swimming pool fencing is picketed, the fence pickets should be spaced four inches or less apart, with no rails (horizontal cross-pieces) that allow the fence to be climbed. For mesh fences, the largest openings should be no more than one and three-quarters inches wide.
- The fence should allow easy visibility through it to the pool area
- Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. It is recommended that they open outward, away from the pool.
- Fence gate latches should be lockable
- If a doorway or window in the house leads directly to the pool area, the opening should be considered part of the pool safety fence, with an audible alarm device installed
- Installation should be strong and secure – be aware that the fence will be pushed, pulled, and attempts will be made to get under or over it. Pay particular attention to this if you are considering removable pool fencing, which can be completely uninstalled and re-installed depending on pool usage.
- The fence should be installed away from the water's edge so that if a child climbs over it, they can not fall directly from the fence into the water
- The swimming pool fence should be constructed to minimize sharp edges while the fence is new, and after the fence is many years old
- Be sure that the fence is tolerant of a wet environment – look for well galvanized or a durable powder coating finish if the fence is metal. You can also find PVC or other plastic fencing that provides the necessary safety and tolerates water and mildew well.
- The walls of above-ground pools can be considered pool fencing, and should conform to the above specifications where practical. Where they don't, or where decking has been installed around the above-ground pool, fencing should be placed to augment protection.
Additional resources from fence manufacturers that discuss pool safety information click here