In many locations, installing a pool fence is not just a good idea – it’s the law. To comply with the law in many areas, you will need to confirm that your pool fence installation meets with the requirements laid out for you by the local government. Obviously, it is a good idea to comply with those laws to make sure your property is in good standing, and to make sure that the area is as safe as possible.
However, even apart from specific legal requirements, there are some general guidelines that you should keep in mind when installing a pool fence. The points listed below will not necessarily help you to fall within the law in your area, but they will be a good start toward a secure pool fence project.
1st Recommendation – Adequate Pool Fence Height
If you are going to install a pool fence, you should be thinking about a fence which is five feet tall. This height is sufficient to provide security for most children, as it would be difficult for any small child to climb over a five-foot fence. You will find on the market today that there are both 48-inch and 60-inch pool fencing products available. While the 48-inch version may be enough to meet the legal requirements for pool fence laws in Arizona or wherever you live (again, check your codes to be sure), that doesn’t mean it is the best option for you and your family.
Adding another foot to the height of the fence will go a long way toward making the pool area more secure. Is there an additional cost with purchasing a five-foot fence as opposed to a four-foot model? Sure, anytime you buy a bigger product, you are going to have to spend more money. However, the modest increase in price is worth the gain in security.
2nd Recommendation – No Footholds for Climbing
It should go without saying that you don’t want anything on the fence which may help a child climb over top and into the pool area. If there are elements in the pool fence design – decorative elements, perhaps – those could wind up compromising the integrity of the whole system. Kids are adventurous by nature, and they are willing to try just about anything when they have the chance. Make sure the fence is designed in such a way that makes it impossible for a small child to scale over to the other side.
3rd Recommendation – Self-Closing, Self-Latching Gate
This is an important point. Your pool fence should include a gate which is both self-closing and self-latching. Without these features, your fence will naturally have a major security flaw. All it would take is for one person to forget to close the gate in order to provide access to the pool for a small child. With a gate that automatically closes itself unless it is being held open, you won’t have to worry about making a forgetful mistake. Once the gate closes itself, it should also latch in place so it will need to be opened once again by an adult before anyone can access the pool. You will find this specific recommendation in the pool barrier laws in California and other areas because it really is a critical piece to ensuring the safety of your pool.
4th Recommendation – Keep Climbable Objects Away from Pool Fence
It is easy to render your fence rather useless with just a simple mistake. If you leave something close to the fence that can be used to climb over to the other side, you will have provided access to the pool for a child even though you went to the trouble of installing a fence. One easy example of this mistake is a patio table. If you have a patio table, or patio chairs, on the outside of the fence, those may be the perfect objects for a kid to climb on, up, and over. Also, a tree which just happens to be growing near the fence could be used for a climbing assist. Look around the property through the eyes of a child and see if there are any opportunities to use other objects in order to clear the fence.
5th Recommendation – Gaps In Fence Should be Less Than Four Inches
A child, as depicted in the graphic above, will find the weakest link in a pool barrier and they will exploit that link to gain access to water. To ensure kids are unable to pass through, or crawl under the fence, all gaps should be less than 4 inches. Furthermore, if the fence is installed over dirt or soft material other than a solid surface such as concrete, the gap between the fence and the ground should be 2″ or less. Kids and animals will attempt to dig under the fence to obtain access to the swimming pool.
If you are able to follow the advice above when installing your pool fence, you should be in good shape from a security standpoint. Remember, you still need to check on the actual laws governing pool fence installation requirements in your area to make sure you are in compliance.