Before building a swimming pool and before you even check the local building codes for requirements. I recommend to you a free booklet put out by the US Consumer Safety Product Commission. called Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools. It’s in the public domain and is available on the website www.cpsc.gov. It’s main purpose and subtitle is to prevent the drowning of children.
The booklet emphasizes the construction of barriers to prevent submersion injuries, especially to young children. Statistics show that children under the age of three are the largest group of these kinds of injuries. The booklet makes it quite clear that it does not mandate anything or contradict any local ordinances. Its purpose is just to provide information and guidelines to save children’s lives.
After reviewing statistics, the CPSC has concluded that the most effective way to reduce injuries and fatalities to children is using barriers, a nice word for fences. Barriers prevent children from gaining access to swimming pools unless an adult is present. The booklet considers the variety of possibilities for fencing with illustrations and suggestions as to height, spacing and most of all latches intended to keep kids out of the pool unaccompanied. It does not leave out above ground pools which are very much a contributor to child fatalities. Even small portable pools have made a contribution to these fatalities.
Another statistic that is significant is that a large percentage of pool mishaps occur in home pools, either your own or of friends. The booklet describes where fences should be placed to maximize safety. In describing the variety of barriers possible, the booklet also points out how curious children can slip through, around and under the different type of fence. The booklet doesn’t really indicate any preference as to type but they show how to maximize the effectiveness of each type of fence. The height, the spacing of slats, the horizontal members are all considered in the construction of fences. Each type of fence is considered with illustrations to help the pool constructor.
A good deal of consideration is given to the type of latches that should be used and where to place them, keeping in mind the curiosity and innate ability of kids under the age of five. The booklet also talks in depth about alarm systems that can be installed and pool cover as additional safety features.
They haven’t overlooked hot tubs and the specific problems created by indoor pools. We strongly suggest getting this booklet if you intend to have a pool, whether you do it yourself or have to oversee the construction by a contractor.