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.
The Do’s of Pool Fencing:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.