Supervision is the key to effective pool safety, but there are some standards in pool barriers that can prevent tricky little ones from going under or through pool barriers. According to guidelines established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the bottom of any pool barrier should not be more than 4 inches above grade. The CPSC determined that based on the size of a young child’s head and chest, openings in the fence should be small enough so that a 4-inch diameter sphere cannot pass through.
Any pool barrier must include a gate for entry and exit, and guidelines have been established for pool area and property gates as well. Pedestrian gates should include a self-closing and self-latching device, as well as a locking device. The gate should open out, away from the pool area, so that even if it is not completely latched a child pushing on it will close the gate and maybe even engage the latch, preventing entry into the pool area. The release mechanism for the gate should be on the pool side of the gate, and be placed at the recommended height that will keep the latch out of reach of young children. Remember that children might reach over the gate, or through any openings in the fence or between the gate and barrier. Keep any openings within 18 inches of the latch to less than ½ inch to keep little hands from sneaking through. Any gates on the property should also have self-latching devices.
Adhering to these few simple pool barrier guidelines, providing constant supervision for children in and outside of the home, and establishing clear rules in for pool use in the household can help reduce residential pool accidents.