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From the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Swimming Pool Guidelines

  • Maximum mesh size for chain link fences should not exceed 1 1/4 inch square unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or the bottom which reduce the openings to no more than 1 3/4 inches.

  • Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, such as a lattice fence, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members should be no more than 1 3/4 inches.

  • Access gates to the pool should comply with Section I, Paragraphs 1 through 7, and should be equipped to accommodate a locking device. Pedestrian access gates should open outward, away from the pool, and should be self-closing and have a self- latching device. Gates other than pedestrian access gates should have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches from the bottom of the gate, (a) the release mechanism should be located on the pool side of the gate at least 3 inches below the top of the gate and (b) the gate and barrier should have no opening greater than l/2 inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism.

  • Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following should apply:

    1. All doors with direct access to the pool through that wall should be equipped with an alarm which produces an audible warning when the door and its screen, if present, are opened. The alarm should sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds, immediately after the door is opened. The alarm should have a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dBA at 10 feet and the sound of the alarm should be distinctive from other household sounds, such as smoke alarms, telephones, and door bells. The alarm should automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm should be equipped with manual means, such as touchpads or switches, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening of the door from either direction. Such deactivation should last for no more than 15 seconds. The deactivation touchpads or switches should be located at least 54 inches above the threshold of the door.

    2. The pool should be equipped with a power safety cover which complies with ASTM F1346-91 listed below.

    3. Other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, are acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection afforded by (a) or (b) described above.

  • Where an aboveground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then (a) the ladder to the pool or steps should be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or (b) the ladder or steps should be surrounded by a barrier which meets Section I, Paragraphs 1 through.

  • When the ladder or steps are secured, locked, or removed, any opening created should not allow the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.

  • Section II. Indoor Swimming Pool: All walls surrounding an indoor swimming pool should comply with Section I, Paragraph 9.

    Section III. Barrier Locations: Barriers should be located so as to prohibit permanent structures, equipment or similar objects from being used to climb the barriers.

    Exemptions: A portable spa with a safety cover which complies with ASTM F1346-91 listed below should be exempt from the guidelines presented in this document. But, swimming pools, hot tubs, and non-portable spas with safety covers should not be exempt from the provisions of this document.


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