It's important to build a sturdy fence around any swimming pool to prevent tragic accidents. Accidental death by drowning is the No. 2 cause of death in and around the home for children under 5, according the the U.S. Consumer Product safety Commission. A fence built to local codes is part of the layers of protection recommended to help protect children (and pets) from accidentally falling into a pool.
The other layers include locked and alarmed outside doors to the pool area, pool motion detectors and mechanical pool safety covers that completely and securely cover the pool.
Putting Up the Fence
Observe the general requirements when constructing a pool fence. The fence must be at least four feet tall. Make sure the fence is not climbable. There should be no footholds or handholds or any areas large enough for a small child to get a foot or hand in. If the fence is slatted, the spaces between the slats can be no more than four inches apart to prevent small bodies from slipping through.
Don't allow any gap at the bottom of the fence to exceed four inches above the deck or graded ground, as measured from the side of the fence away from the pool. Be sure any anchors and supports holding the fence up are securely buried and concreted or firmly bolted to a deck so the fence cannot be lifted up or pushed over.
Install gates to open outward from the pool. They must be self-closing and self-latching. Make sure the gate has no opening greater than one-half-inch wide within 18 inches of the latching and release mechanism. This prevents small hands from reaching inside to open the gate. Make sure the gate is also unclimbable and there is no adjacent structure a child could use as a platform to climb on and reach over the top of the gate.
Check local codes for any additional or more specific requirements in your area. In this instance, tougher regulations and more stringent requirements are always better. And remember, all the precautions in the world are no substitute for constant supervision of children anywhere around a pool.