Home Pools Safety Guidelines - Level Up Home Inspections

Home Pools Safety Guidelines: Preventing Submersion Incidents and Drowning to Protect Young Children in Residential Swimming Pools

Home Pools Safety Guidelines
Swimming pools should always have safety guidelines. Unfortunately, each year thousands of American families confront swimming pool tragedies, drownings, and near-drownings of young children. At Level Up Home Inspections, we want to prevent these tragedies.

These are guidelines for pool barriers that can help prevent most submersion incidents involving young children.
Intend to minimize pool drowning of young children with helpful safety tips for safer pools.

Each year, hundreds of young children die and thousands come close to death due to submersion in residential swimming pools. Approximately 150 children under 5 drown in pools annually, according to the CPSC. The speed with which swimming pool drownings and submersions can occur is a special concern.

The CPSC studied pool accidents, including fatal drownings, in California, Arizona, and Florida.

  • Drowning was the primary cause of accidental death for children under 5 in California, Arizona, and Florida.
  • Seventy-five percent of the children involved in swimming pool submersion or drowning accidents were between 1 and 3 years old.
  • Boys between 1 and 3 were the most likely victims of fatal drownings and near-fatal submersions in residential swimming pools.
  • Most of the victims were in the presence of one or both parents when the swimming pool accident occurred.
  • Around 50% of child victims had prior house exposure before the pool accident, with 23% outdoors.
  • Approximately 69% of drowned or submerged children did not anticipate being in or near the pool.
  • 65% occurred in family-owned pools, while 33% in pools owned by relatives or friends.
  • Less than 2% of pool accidents resulted from children trespassing on unfamiliar property.
  • 70 percent of the swimming pool accident victims had been missing for five minutes or less.

Anyone who has cared for a toddler knows how fast young children can move. Toddlers are inquisitive and impulsive and lack a realistic sense of danger.
Children’s quick and unpredictable movements, combined with these behaviors, pose a significant risk in households with swimming pools. Barriers are essential for preventing child drownings in residential pools.

Home Pool Safety Measures: Controlling Access Points and Implementing Alarms for Enhanced Protection

For homes with doors directly opening onto the pool area or leading to a patio with pool access, implementing effective pool safety measures is crucial. Here are important considerations for controlling access points and implementing alarms:

  1. House Wall as Pool Barrier:
  • Secure doors within the house wall leading to the pool area with necessary measures. CPSC data highlights the importance of control, as a significant number of pool accident victims were last seen inside the house before incidents occurred.
  1. Audible Alarm for Pool Access Doors:
  • All doors granting access to the swimming pool must have an audible alarm that activates upon opening of the door or screen.
  • The alarm should sound for at least 30 seconds within seven seconds of the door opening.
  • It should be loud, measuring at least 85 decibels when measured 10 feet away from the alarm mechanism.
  • The alarm sound should be distinct from other household sounds (e.g., telephone, doorbell, smoke alarm).
  • Include an automatic reset feature.
  1. De-activation Switch for Adults:
  • To allow adults to pass through pool barrier doors without triggering the alarm, a de-activation switch should be present.
  • The switch can be a touchpad (keypad) or a manual switch, positioned at least 54 inches above the door’s threshold.
  • We select this height based on the reaching ability of young children.
  • The de-activation switch should provide temporary deactivation for up to 15 seconds.
  1. Power Safety Covers and Self-Closing Doors:
  • Install power safety covers that conform to ASTM F 1346-91 specifications as additional security barriers for pools.
  • Self-closing doors with self-latching devices are also effective in safeguarding doors providing direct access to the swimming pool.

By implementing these pool safety measures, you can enhance protection and minimize the risk of accidents or unauthorized access to the pool area.

Indoor Pools

When a pool is fully enclosed within a house, the surrounding walls should be equipped to function as safety barriers. The measures recommended for using a house wall as part of a safety barrier also apply to all walls surrounding an indoor pool.

Swimming Pool Gate Design: 3 Essential Home Pools Safety Guidelines for Secure Access and Child Safety

An outdoor swimming pool, regardless of its type (in-ground, above-ground, or on-ground), along with hot tubs or spas, must have a compliant barrier.

  1. The barrier should be at least 48 inches high above grade, with a maximum 4-inch vertical clearance. If the pool is above ground, the barrier can be at ground level or mounted with a 4-inch maximum vertical clearance.
  2. The barrier should not have openings that allow the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.
  3. Smooth solid barriers, like masonry walls, should be free from indentations or protrusions, except for standard tolerances.
  4. If the barrier consists of horizontal and vertical members, and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches, place the horizontal members on the swimming pool side of the fence. The spacing between vertical members should not exceed 1-3/4 inches in width. If there are decorative cutouts, the spacing within the cutouts should not exceed 1-3/4 inches in width.
  5. If the barrier has horizontal and vertical members with a top-to-top distance of 45 inches or more, the spacing between vertical members should not exceed 4 inches. If there are decorative cutouts, the spacing within the cutouts should not exceed 1-3/4 inches in width.
  6. Chain-link fences should have a maximum mesh size of 1-3/4 inch square unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or the bottom to reduce the openings to no more than 1-3/4 inches.
  7. For barriers composed of diagonal members, like a lattice fence, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members should be 1-3/4 inches or less.
  8. Equip access gates to the pool with the ability to accommodate a locking device. Pedestrian access gates should open outward, away from the pool, and should be self-closing with a self-latching device. Non-pedestrian gates should have a self-latching device within 54 inches from the bottom of the gate.
  9. The release mechanism should be on the poolside of the gate, at least 3 inches below the top.. The gate and barrier should not have an opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism.
  10. If a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following should apply:
  • Audible warnings should sound when doors with direct access to the pool through that wall, including doors with screens, are opened. Ensure that the alarm sounds continuously for at least 30 seconds within seven seconds after the door is opened.
    The alarm should have a minimum sound rating of 85 dBA at 10 feet and a distinct sound different from other household sounds. The alarm should automatically reset under all conditions.
    The alarm should have manual means, like touchpads or switches, to temporarily deactivate it for a single door opening from either direction. The deactivation should last for no more than 15 seconds. The deactivation touchpads or switches should be located at least 54 inches above the threshold of the door.
  • The pool should have a power safety cover

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