Do I Need a Fence Around My Swimming Pool?

For some people, installing a swimming pool and purchasing a fence go hand in hand.  Some might wonder if installing a fence is absolutely necessary.  After all, they are already spending money on the pool itself and may not want the additional cost of installing a fence.  It is important to know that depending on where you live a fence may be a requirement.  Usually the state you live in will dictate if a fence is needed, however, in some places it is the county that will decide if a fence is required.  Furthermore, depending on if you live in a neighborhood as apposed to the rural countryside, the neighborhood association may have their own requirement for a fence around your pool.  Lastly, in some locations you will need to have an auto cover on your pool whether or not you have a fence, and some places will allow the use an auto cover instead of a fence.   Being that there are several possible sources that necessitate a fence, it is best to do the research ahead of time.

The requirement for a fence is for safety purposes.  It acts as a barrier between the pool and anyone who might try to gain access to it.  That includes neighborhood children as well as your own children if you have them.  Having a pool without a fence is typically viewed as a liability and having a fence will also help to protect you from legal action in the event that something does happen.

In addition to that, I strongly recommend having a fence installed around your pool area if not the entire backyard, even if you have an auto cover.  I also recommend that it entirely enclose the pool.  Having multiple barriers to overcome might be enough to prevent anyone from trying to gain access to the pool without your permission.  If you have children and are planning to use the house itself as one side of the fence barrier, meaning that the fence encloses only three sides of the pool area and the house seals off the fourth, then it would also be a good idea to install some kind of alarm system.  There are a few options of alarm system the you can choose from.
One would be installed on the doors and windows leading to the pool area, and would sound once the door or window is opened.

Another alarm would be installed pool side and would be activated by motion around the pool or in the pool.  I know that children have the ability to be right next to you one minute and in the next they are out of sight.  Just remember that it only takes a matter of minutes for a submersion injury to occur.

If the fence encloses all four side of the pool, you should make sure the fence is tall enough that it cannot be easily climbed.  Again, a pool side alarm system would be a good investment.  Also, make sure that the gates are self closing and self latching, with the latches out of reach of small children, and the door opens away from the pool.  Children tend to be pretty good at problem solving.  They may be try standing on a chair to reach the gates latch.  With the gate opening away from the pool, if they do get it unlatched then they will soon realize that they are standing in the way of it opening.  This is a good idea and may be what causes them to give up trying.  If they do gain entry to the pool area, this would be a situation in which an auto cover would be very beneficial.  It would act as another barrier between them and the water.  They would either need to know a code and how to properly enter it to get the cover open, or they would need to have a key to be able to remove the cover.  With kids, it is important to remove any temptation to gain access to the pool area and put as many barriers between them and the water.

Another thing to help eliminate the temptation of gaining access to the pool area is to remove any toys or objects that might draw a child’s attention.  After a day of swimming, clean any pool toys from the pool and put them in a place out of sight.  This will help to prevent a child from trying to enter the pool area to retrieve something that they played with earlier in the day.  I know these might sound like a lot of steps to take, but they are well worth it.

When it comes to deciding if you need a fence or not, it is best to research ahead of time.  Check into state laws, county codes, and association rules.  Some places will require them, and others may not, but regardless of if a fence is legally required or not, it is still a good idea to install one around your swimming pool.  Additional safety measures never hurt, and you might find that they are well worth it.

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