Pool Safety Barrier Laws are Forged in California

Several states, mostly in the South and West, have passed laws pertaining specifically to pool safety barriers. California is one of several states that have enacted legislation that enforced pool safety fences. The law passed three years ago states that any new or remodeled pool or spa, done on or after January 1, 2007, is required to have at least one of seven required safety features. The most adapted option for homeowners is to install a fence, wall, or removable mesh fencing around the pool or spa. The fence must also include a gate that is self-closing, self-latching and able to be locked. The law currently only applies to privately owned, single-family residences.

When a homeowner chooses to install a wall or permanent fence, the law sets specific requirements regarding the height, gap between fencing, and distance from the ground, of the fence. The fence must be at least 60 inches tall. The spaces between the slats in the fence must be less than 4 inches and the space between the bottom of the fence and the ground is limited to 2 inches. Lastly, there cannot be any objects or protrusions near the fence that provide a way for a child under the age of 5 to climb over it.

If installing the mesh pool fence, it must meet the specifications of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Mesh fencing is easy to remove and reinstall each time the pool is used. The fencing must again reach a height of 60 inches to meet the California state law requirements. The fence inserts into sleeves, which are drilled into the concrete or surface surrounding the pool.

While the law is readily enforced, it does not force homeowners to install a pool safety fence if they do not want to. The Swimming Pool Safety Act allows for other forms of drowning prevention safety features to be used instead of a fence or wall. There are options for pool safety covers, alarming of doors with direct access to the pool area, and the use of self-closing and self-latching equipment on doors with pool access. With a number of options to choose from, pool owners are not coerced into one specific action. This allowance has lead to a favorable reception of the law and will likely be implemented in more states to come.

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