One of the most crucial pool safety requirements is the installation of adequate fencing around the pool. This is especially important if your household has any children of 5 years or less as they are the most prone to drowning when swimming unsupervised.
Although many people are well aware of the fact that their backyard pool should be fenced, only a few know the correct pool fencing requirements. This defeats the whole purpose of making the pool a safer place even for young children.
Pool Fencing Requirements
As any swimming pool expert will tell you, a fence or barrier can take many different forms but it has to adhere to a certain set of standards in order to be effective. Although the requirements may vary slightly depending on the location of the pool and the year it was built, they still contribute to ensuring that a pool fence is effective as a child-resistance barrier.
The following requirements are put in place solely for the purpose of preventing little children from being able to squeeze their way through any gaps or openings or being able to climb over the barrier.
1. All pool barriers should measure at least 1.2 meters high from the ground level. Going higher is entirely optional; going lower is not.
2. There should be no gaps bigger than 10cm both between the bottom of the fence and the ground and in between any vertical bars or planks in the barrier itself.
3. The fence should not be climbable. If you cannot avoid placing horizontal bars on the fence, you should space them not less than 90cm apart.
The surroundings of the pool also impact on how effective the barrier is especially when you consider the dexterity of young children who will climb anything to get what they want. As such:
1. The adjacent pool environment should be relatively non-climbable. This will require the removal of any overhanging trees or bushes. You should also ensure that objects such as ladders, tables, chairs, barbeque grills and any other climbable paraphernalia are at least 90cm away from the barrier.
2. Install child resistant gates, doors and windows if your pool fence or barrier requires one. To qualify as child resistant, the openings have to meet the following standards:
· Self-closing (i.e. swings shut on its own).
· Also has a non-climbable surface and 90cm zone.
· The latches should be at least 150cm from the ground.
· It must open outwards from the pool.
· Should not have pet doors.
Windows must have locking devices that restrict the opening of the window to 10cm or less. They should also have a security screen.
Types of Pool Fences
There are numerous fencing options out there that will allow you to set up a barrier that matches the design of your house. There are three types of pool fences that are commonly used. These are:
· Aluminum Fences – these are widely preferred because of their elegant and ornamental appeal. They are also more durable than the rest as the aluminum is often powder-coated to enhance its resistance to corrosive agents and scratches. These are also a lot cheaper than iron fences and also significantly lighter.
· PVC – PVC fences are also a common poolside fence and this is mainly attributed to their cheapness and overall effectiveness. PVC barriers mainly consist of slats which are joined together to form a solid and very useful barrier.
· Wooden Fences – Although pricey, wood is great for poolside fencing. However, most people opt for the other options due to the relatively high maintenance requirements wood fences come with.
The simple act of creating an effective child-proof barrier around your pool can mean the difference when it comes to preventing accidental tragedies. Always ensure that your fence meets all the necessary requirements.