Tag Archive for: pool fencing

pool fencing blog cover

Swimming pools can be a great source of fun and entertainment for families, but it is important to observe pool safety protocols and implement the five layers of protection. Pool fencing is an essential safety measure for any swimming pool, whether it’s a residential or a commercial pool. 

The primary purpose of pool fencing is to prevent accidental drowning, particularly for young children at high risk of drowning in swimming pools. These barriers restrict access to the water, preventing kids and pets from accidents during non-swim times. However, pool fencing also has other benefits, such as enhancing the appearance of the pool area and increasing property value.

A critical part of this is making sure that your pool has the proper fencing to prevent accidents. To help you stay safe and informed, this article will provide an overview of the key do’s and don’ts when it comes to pool fencing. It will discuss the types of materials available, installation considerations, and other important safety elements.

backyard swimming pool with fence

The Do’s of Pool Fencing:

  1. Do choose a fence that meets standards and codes.

All pool fences should comply with ASTM-F1908 standard for residential outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. These include the height, materials, and gate requirements. Unfortunately, non-compliance can result in hefty fines in some locations, so please make sure you choose a fence that meets the standards established in your local area.

  1. Do ensure the fence is at least 4 feet high.

The height of the fence is a critical factor in preventing young children from climbing over it. The minimum height requirement for a pool fence is 4 feet.

  1. Do use self-closing and self-latching elements.

Pool gates should close and latch automatically to ensure the pool is always secure. Choose high-quality self-closing hinges and self-latching locks for your pool gate. An extra tip: make sure the gate always swings away from the pool area.

  1. Do maintain the fence regularly

Regular maintenance ensures that the fence remains in good condition and can function as a barrier effectively. Check for any damage, wear and tear, or signs of corrosion, and fix them promptly. For the fence to work properly, the gate, locking mechanism, and fence must all work together as a total system.

  1. Do consider the materials

The materials used for the fence can affect its durability, maintenance requirements, and overall appearance. Choose materials that are durable, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing.

  1. Do keep the pool fence clear of any objects.

Objects such as chairs or toys can be used as a climbing aid for children to get over the fence. Keep the pool fence area clear of any objects that could potentially be used as a climbing aid.

  1. Do ensure the fence is installed by a professional.

Installing a pool fence can be complicated, and a professional installer can ensure that the fence meets the standards and is installed correctly. Use the NDPA and Fence Group app if you need help getting started.

  1. Do consider adding additional safety measures.

While a pool fence is an effective safety barrier, adding additional safety measures such as pool covers or alarms can provide extra protection for your family and visitors.

  1. Do ensure the gate is locked when not in use.

Keep your pool gate locked at all times. Keeping your pool gate locked when not in use can prevent unauthorized access to the pool area, reducing the risk of accidental drowning.

  1. Do educate children about pool safety.

Teaching children about pool safety and the importance of the pool fence can help prevent accidents. Ensure children understand the pool rules and know to never go near the water without adult supervision.

While pool fencing can be an effective barrier, it’s essential to use it correctly. Fences, barriers, and alarms are only 1 of the 5 layers of protection.

fenced swimming pool

The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t leave gaps in your pool fence

One of the most significant don’ts of pool fencing is leaving gaps in the fence. These gaps can be tempting for children to crawl through, and they can also allow pets to access the pool area. Ensure your fence is completely secure and has no gaps or holes that small children or pets could crawl through.

  1. Don’t forget to put away toys and furniture

Simply having a fence around a swimming pool does not provide complete protection for young children, who may find ways to climb over the barrier. Take the necessary steps to ensure that any objects that could help them climb over the pool fencing (such as toys, steps or furniture) are kept away from the pool area, particularly when not in use.

  1. Don’t use a fence that is too short

Your pool fence should be at least 4 feet high. Using a fence that is too short can compromise the safety of your pool area, making it easy for children to climb over or pets to jump over.

  1. Don’t use a fence with horizontal bars

While horizontal bar fences may look attractive, they can be a safety hazard. Children can use the bars as footholds to climb over the fence, and pets can also use them to jump over. It’s best to use a fence with vertical bars or mesh to prevent climbing.

  1. Don’t forget to maintain your pool fence

A pool fence is only effective if it’s well-maintained. Regularly check your fence for any damage or wear and tear, and repair any issues promptly. Also, keep the area around the fence clear to prevent anyone from using objects to climb over.

  1. Don’t use a fence with a low-quality lock

Your pool gate’s lock is essential to its safety. A low-quality lock can be easily bypassed, allowing unauthorized access to the pool area. Invest in a high-quality lock that can’t be easily picked or tampered with.

  1. Don’t use a fence that doesn’t comply with regulations

Each area may have specific regulations for pool fencing. Make sure that your fence complies with these regulations to ensure that it’s effective in keeping your pool area safe.

  1. Don’t rely on pool covers instead of a fence

Pool covers are not a substitute for a fence. They can be easily removed, and they don’t provide a physical barrier that can prevent children or pets from accessing the pool area. Always use a fence in conjunction with a pool cover for maximum safety.

  1. Don’t use a fence that is too close to the pool

Your fence should be at least 4 ft away from the pool’s edge. This distance helps prevent someone from falling into the pool while trying to climb the fence. It also provides space for maintenance and repairs without disturbing the pool area.

  1. Don’t forget to supervise children

Finally, while a pool fence can be an effective barrier, it’s important to remember that it’s not foolproof. Always supervise children when they’re near the pool, even if a fence is in place. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen, so never leave children unattended near the pool.

Pool fencing is a crucial safety measure that can save lives. By following the do’s and don’ts of pool fencing as a barrier, you can ensure your pool area is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Remember, safety should always be your top priority.

Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children. Be aware of the potential risks and prevent unsupervised access to water. This includes in-ground and above ground pools and spas, portable pools, bath tubs, buckets and other bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, ponds and canals.


  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1 to 14 years of age and kills more children ages 1 to 4 than anything else except for birth defects. On average, three children die each day from drowning.
  • ​Drowning risks vary by age
    o Children younger than 1 year old are more likely to drown at home. 
    o Children between 1 and 4 years of age are more likely to drown in a home swimming pool or spa. 
    o Those 5 to 17 years old are more likely to drown in natural water, such as a pond or lake. 
  • Lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access is a main factor in many drowning incidents.
  • Pool and spa drownings occur in public and private settings, in backyard in-ground and above-ground pools, kids’ pools, apartment complexes and hotels. 
  • The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says that nearly 70% of young children who drowned in swimming pools were not expected to be in or at the pool.  
  • After pools, bathtubs are the second leading location where young children drown. However, buckets, bath seats, wells, cisterns, septic tanks, decorative ponds, and toilets, are also potential drowning sources for infants and toddlers.


  • Check for water hazards in your setting, such as an unfenced pool, liquid-filled buckets or an ornamental pond, then take appropriate precautions to prevent unsupervised access. 
  • ​Childproof your home against water hazards from bathtubs, bath seats, toilets and buckets:
    o Place locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom. 
    o Empty unattended buckets containing even a small amount of liquid immediately after use, including buckets outside that can collect rainwater. Toddlers are top heavy and can easily fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it inside or where young children cannot reach it. 
    o Drain all water from portable and inflatable kiddie pools, and flip them over so they cannot collect rainwater.  
  • If you have a pool, spa or ornamental pond at home:
    o Install a fence that is at least 4-feet high, and completely separates the water from the house and yard. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward, with latches that are out of reach of children. See CPSC Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools for details.
    o In addition to a fence, install additional layers of protection, such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent access and to alert you if someone exits the home and enters the pool area.
    o Install and use a door or pool alarm, and/or a pool or spa cover if the house serves as part of a pool or spa fence.
    o Make sure that pool or spa covers can support the weight of a child and not allow access to the water.
    o Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
    o For above-ground pools, the pool structure itself is a barrier, however be sure to prevent young children from climbing up into the pool by securing, locking or removing steps and ladders. 
    o Be aware of pet doors that lead directly to a pool or other backyard body of water. A fence between the house and the pool is a must if there is a cat or dog door.
  • If you have natural water on your property or near your home, such as a pond, river, lake, stream or canal, or if you have a neighbor with an unfenced pool or spa: 
    o Install fencing between the house and the water that prevents children from accessing the water without adult supervision.
    o Check your local building codes for requirements for residential fencing and housing complexes.
  • If you are away from home near bodies of water, such as a river, lake, pond, canal, or ocean shore: 
    o Set expectations and rules for children regarding going in or near the water, and strictly enforce them.
    o Closely and continuously monitor anyone who is unable to recognize the danger that water may pose—especially young children. Children can disappear quickly and are attracted to water. Don’t assume that a fence, sign, or verbal warning will keep children away from the water.
    o Swim only in designated swimming areas supervised by lifeguards or other undistracted water watchers who are capable of performing a water rescue.
    o Make sure that those with sufficient skill and maturity to participate in approved activities, such as swimming, boating, or fishing, are doing so in a safe area with appropriate supervision, such as lifeguards, and appropriate equipment, such as life jackets.  
    o When in, on, or near the water, insist that children and weak or non-swimmers wear properly-fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets that are appropriate for their weight and water activity.
  • Know how to provide proper supervision for children under your care in or near the water:
    o Become water competent and learn to swim.
    o Understand how risks vary with conditions, such as water depth, water clarity and currents, and adjust supervision and activities accordingly. For example, by choosing a safe swimming area or having participants wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
    o Learn CPR and basic rescue skills.
    o Always designate a water watcher when in or near water. 
       – Practice touch supervision while bathing the very young.
       – In a pool, keep young children within arm’s reach.
       – Avoid distractions, such as phone calls or texts.
       – Don’t leave a young child unattended, or under the care of another child, even for a moment.  

Media Advisory on Proper Terminology Drowning is not always a fatal event. Some people die as a result of drowning, while others survive with serious, life-long injuries, or none at all. Thus, the term “drowning” should not be used to imply death. According to the World Health Organization: “Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. Drowning outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity. Agreed terminology is essential to describe the problem and to allow effective comparisons of drowning trends. Thus, this definition of drowning adopted by the 2002 World Congress on Drowning should be widely used.” 

About the Authors of this Document: Water Safety USA is a consortium of leading national governmental and nongovernmental organizations with a strong record of providing drowning prevention and water safety programs. Our mission is to empower people with resources, information, and tools to safely enjoy and benefit from our nation’s aquatic environments. Our membership is as follows:

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Red Cross
Boy Scouts of America
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Drowning Prevention Alliance
National Park Service
National Safe Boating Council
Pool and Hot Tub Alliance
Safe Kids Worldwide
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
​United States Lifesaving Association
USA Swimming Foundation
YMCA of the USA