California swimming pools built or refurbished after 1998 must have at least one safety barrier to protect the kids from drowning, but having more than one barrier is ideal. The state law requires swimming pool owners to fix safety barriers such as a cover, a fence, or even an alarm.
Pool Fencing Law In California
The Unwanted Statistics
For California kids aged between one and four, drowning has been ranked as the leading killer. From 2010 to 2015, over 160 kids succumbed to drowning in the entire state while more than 700 were hospitalized for severe drowning problems according to Steve Barrow. Steve Barrow is a program director at the California Coalition for Children’s Health and Safety. The pool safety legislation became effective on January 1, 1997 (Health and Safety Code 115920). The act recommended the following necessities when building or renovating a swimming pool or spa:
- Building a four-sided isolation pool fence next to the pool perimeter offers ultimate guarantee for the safety of the kids.
- The safety of the neighboring kids can be ascertained by constructing a property perimeter pool fence.
- The pool fence gates and ladders should be latched with latches above the reach of small kids. The gates should also be locked when the pool is not in use. The pet doors leading to the pool should also be secured.
- Since wading and spa pools can be as risky as regular swimming pools, it is advisable to isolate them as well.
- California law allows you to use pool safety covers. You can use full covers to prevent kids from drowning into the pool, detachable mesh pool fencing, exit alarms on doors, latching and self-closing devices on the home’s doorways, swimming pool alarms, as well as any other type of barrier that is authorized by the local building organization.
- Pool owners are advised to install a water motion alarm to raise the alarm whenever there is water disturbance. The ON/OFF switch must be placed out of the reach of kids.
Act 115922 (Safety Barriers)
When you are permitted to build a new swimming pool, spa or remodel the existing, the pool or spa should be fitted with at least two of the following safety measures except as indicated in section 115925:
- A fence that adheres to the requirements of Section 115923 and separates the spa or swimming pool from a private single-family home.
- A detachable mesh fencing that meets the requirements set by ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) alongside a self-latching and self-closing gate that includes a critical lockable gadget.
- An authorized safety pool cover, as outlined in subsection (d) of section 115921.
- An exit alarm fitted at the private single-family home’s doors that give direct access to the spa or swimming pool. The alarm can have the ability to provide a warning or alert such as repeating this notification ‘the door leading to the pool is wide open.’
- A self-latching, self-closing device with a release mechanism placed no lower than fifty-four inches above the ground on the home’s door proving access to the spa or pool.
- An alarm placed inside the pool, such that it sounds whenever it detects an unauthorized or accidental entrance into the pool. The alarm should meet the standards set by ASTM.
- Other safety measures, if the safety feature installed is equal or greater than the ones outlined above and has been individually certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), you can use it on your spa or swimming pool.
Before the issuance of the final approval for the remodeling or construction of the swimming pool, the local building authority will individually check for the drowning safety prevention measures as needed, and you will be given the final approval if no violations are seen.
Act 115923 (Features of the Fences)
- All access gates through the fence should open away from the pool and must be self-closing with a self-latching device that is fitted sixty inches above the floor.
- The fence must have a minimum height of sixty inches.
- A maximum vertical clearance from the floor to the bottom of the fence of 2 inches.
- If there are gaps, it should not allow passage of an object that is more than four inches in diameter.
- The outside surface of the pool must be free of cavities, protrusions, or any other physical feature that can serve as foothold or handhold to a child.