Are we really going to cut into your summer fun by talking about rules and regulations? Yep. While swimming pools are extremely fun places to hang out with family and friends, they can be dangerous. In Texas, drowning is a leading cause of death for children under four years old. One more extremely sad statistic: sixty percent of these kids drowned in the family pool.
The good news? Drowning is preventable. And here at Buzz, we know a lot about building fences to keep your family safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a four-sided fence that separates the pool area from the rest of the yard reduces the risk of kids drowning by 83 percent.
Ideal Pool Fence
Depending on your city or town, different rules may apply. But some rules set forth in Chapter 757 of the Texas State Health and Safety Codes apply to the entire state. These are based on guidelines set by the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission.
In addition to checking local ordinances, if you’re governed by a Homeowners Association, you’ll also need to comply with HOA specs.
Here are a few key provisions of Chapter 757:
- Your pool fence must be at least four feet tall.
- If you’re building a new pool fence, you can’t use chain link, as it’s too easy to climb.
- You’ll need a gate that closes and latches automatically. The latch must be in the top-fourth of the gate – out of the easy reach of little hands.
- You must be able to lock your gate with a padlock, code or other lock.
- Gaps must be less than four inches, including between the fence and the ground.
- If you’re building a wood fence, the horizontal pieces must be on the pool side to discourage climbing into the pool area.
Your Home Insurance
While homeowners don’t need separate pool insurance, it’s wise to up the personal liability section of your policy to $300,000 or $500,000. You may also want to buy an umbrella policy to supplement your personal liability.
To assess your risk, think about who is likeliest to use your pool. Will it be a neighborhood hub for kids? Do you have a lot of crazy, risk-taking friends who like their drinks? Or are there wild high school or college kids in the area who might sneak into your pool? Unfortunately for homeowners, you may be liable for tragedies befalling trespassers.
If your insurer is pushing bigger policies on your, keep in mind he or she is not just being a jerk. Pools are a risky business for insurers, because they can result in big claims. The insurer is trying to protect itself – just as homeowners need to protect themselves.
In addition to the perfect fence from Buzz, you can do a few more things to make your pool a safer place. Consider adding signage, such as “No Diving” and “No Lifeguard on Duty.” While that may feel silly since it’s your home pool, these signs could help dissuade visiting kids from diving in the shallow end, and could limit your liability if you’re plagued by uninvited swimmers. Even better, an alarm on the gate will alert you to trespassers.
Do you have any non-swimmers in the family? Enroll them in swim lessons before adding a pool. Swimming is an important survival skill for people of all ages. Attending CPR, First Aid and basic lifesaving classes could also make the different between tragedy and a happy ending.
Ready to build that ideal pool fence? Call us today to ensure a safe and happy summer.