Texas Swimming Pool Safety

By
Home Inspector with Premier Property Inspections

Swimming Pool Safety

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Each year, in our country, 300 to 500 children under the age of five years old drown in residential swimming pools.

The figure does not include the large number of  children who survive a near-drowning, some with permanent injuries including brain damage and other long term damage.

Nationally, after fire deaths, swimming pool drownings are the second leading cause of accidental death in the home to children under five years old. In some states, such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, drowning is the leading cause. Obviously, there are more pools in those states than other states.

The most common cause leading to these deaths is that a child (often only one or two years old) is being supervised but the parent or guardian is momentarily distracted. It only takes a  minute or two for the curious child to find his/her way to the pool. The few minutes required to discover that the child is missing is usually too long to prevent drowning or serious injury.

A barrier restricting access from the house to the pool is one of the best ways to prevent these drownings.

In a study of drowning or near-drownings, it was  found that almost all of the victims lived in or visited the home where the accident happened. Less than 3% of the accidents occurred when the child trespassed on the property.

The model pool barrier should have the following features:

The most important element is that a fence or barrier, at least 48 inches high with no footholds or handholds surrounds the pool, hot tub, or spa.

When a wall of a house is used as part of the barrier, all doors leading from the house to the pool must be equipped with an appropriate alarm to alert parents and guardians when the door is opened.

A power safety cover should protect the pool when it is not in use.

More specifically, the CPSC proposed regulations (to be administered through existing code enforcement organizations) which include the following provisions for any outdoor, private swimming pool, hot tub, or spa:

  1. That there be a barrier around the entire pool, at least 48 inches high, with a maximum vertical clearance between ground and the bottom of the barrier of two inches.
  2. That openings in the barrier should not allow passage of anything greater than a 4" diameter sphere.
  3. That solid barriers should not have openings or indentations that make it possible to climb over the barrier.
  4. That barriers composed of horizontal and vertical members shall be built to minimize the possibility of a child climbing over it.
  5. That the maximum mesh size for chain-link fence shall be 1-1/4 inch square.
  6. That access gates shall be equipped to accommodate a locking device to prevent opening of the gate. 
  7. Pedestrian access gates shall open outwards away from the pool and shall be self locking and have a self-latching device.
  8. Where a wall serves as part of the barrier, all doors with direct access to the pool area through that wall shall be equipped with an alarm which produces a loud warning when the door and its screen are opened.
  9. For an above-ground pool or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, ladder or steps used as access shall be lockage or removable to prevent access when the pool is not supervised by adults or guardians. 
  10. Indoor pools should have all walls satisfy solid wall barrier standards as noted above.

 

Following these guidelines and watching your children closely can help prevent a tragedy for your family or friends.

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