Pool Safety State Requirements and Recommendations
Backyard swimming pools can provide hours of entertainment and relaxation, but they also pose a serious threat to children if they are not properly secured. And because the law considers swimming pools to be an “attractive nuisance”, you can be held liable for anyone who is killed or injured in your pool, even if they were trespassing at the time.
If you own a swimming pool, or plan to get one installed, take a moment to educate yourself on the laws governing them. You could save a life or, at the very least, save yourself a lot of money and legal woes.
Pool Safety Requirements in Texas
Texas law has very specific requirements for residential swimming pools, mostly aimed at minimizing their danger to children. The four major considerations are:
- Fencing Specifications. Pools must be surrounded on all sides by a fence or barrier no shorter than 4 feet in height. This barrier may not be constructed from chain link, and must not contain any gaps wider than 4 inches.
- Gates, Latches and Locks. Gates in the barrier must have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism. The latch must be placed in the top ¼ of the gate, on the inside. Furthermore, the gate must be able to be secured by a physical lock, keypad, or key card.
- In many cases, a pool is surrounded on three sides by a backyard fence, and the house itself acts as the fourth wall of the barrier. In these situations, any door or window that leads to the pool area must have an alarm system that will sound within 7 seconds of opening. The alarm override system must be placed high enough on the wall that it cannot be easily reached by children.
- Above-Ground Pools. The sides of the pool itself can serve as the required barrier, but any stairs or ladders leading up to the pool must be able to be locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
Swimming Pool Safety Recommendations
While adherence to Texas swimming pool laws will greatly improve your pool’s safety, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has a few more recommendations.
- Install Safety Covers. Whether manual or automatic, these covers are designed to keep your pool closed off from the elements and from unauthorized swimmers.
- Remove Toys. Colorful, floating toys make swimming pools more attractive to children. Be sure to remove these tempting objects when they’re not in use.
- Have Safety Equipment Nearby. Keep life preservers and reaching poles near the pool in case of emergencies.
- Increase Liability Limits. This tip is for your own protection. Talk to your insurance company to see if they recommend upping your limit after having a swimming pool installed.
Other Rules and Penalties
Be aware that Texas state law isn’t the only law that might apply to your pool. Texas cities and counties can have further rules and regulations that you must follow. Consult your city’s official website or your county’s health department for more information.
HOAs can also impose rules for pool construction and safety. Check with your HOA to make sure your swimming pool is fully compliant.
If your pool barrier isn’t up to code, county officials have the authority to repair it on your behalf and charge you the full amount of the repairs, plus penalties and interest. The county can then place a lien on your property until you pay the full amount. You can also be fined $200 to $1,000 each day that the safety violation is present.
Don’t Take Chances with Pool Safety
1st Choice wants you to have the safest, most enjoyable experience with your backyard swimming pool. Give us a call today if you have questions about pool safety equipment. We will gladly come out to inspect or install everything you need to keep your pool safe for yourself and others.