A fence? For an inflatable pool?
You heard it right.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for kids under the age of 5 years old, totaling about 300 deaths annually. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by proper barriers surrounding pools (including the inflatable variety), as it can keep kids from accessing water hazards without adult supervision. To prevent accidental drownings there are safety recommendations and regulations surrounding pool fencing at the federal, state, county, and city levels.
While most people know fencing is necessary for drowning prevention for in-ground pools, many people opt for above ground pools, where the rules surrounding fencing are more hazy. That being said, how do you determine if you need a pool fence for an above-ground inflatable pool?
It depends on…
The depth of the pool: The general rule of thumb when it comes to pool fences is that you should install one if your pool is 18 inches deep or more. Keep in mind that some places also have width requirements, so research the laws in your area.
Bear in mind that, while it would be difficult for an adult to drown in a 1.5-feet deep kiddie pool, that depth of water poses an extremely high drowning risk to small children. Toddlers are especially at risk because they could wander through a gate or into a yard with an unfenced inflatable pool.
Your place of residence: While there are some standard recommendations and regulations, specific requirements for fences around inflatable or portable pools can vary slightly according to state, county, or even city. Some places may have additional requirements for fencing, such as necessitating a self locking gate. The height of fencing may also vary by area, with most minimums being between the four to five-foot range.
Inflatable pool safety tips
When setting up an inflatable pool for residential, recreational use, remember your “ABC’s,” which stand for:
Adult supervision: Although small children are especially at risk, pools should never be used by children under 16 without adult supervision. Even if your child has participated in swimming lessons, they should never be left unattended.
Barriers: Build a fence around your inflatable pool even if it is not required in your area. Barriers come in all shapes, materials, and sizes. You can opt for a fence that you can remove when the pool is empty or stored for the winter. If you have a toddler, it’s advisable that you install a self locking gate to prevent the child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised.
Swimming lessons: Make sure your children know the ins and outs of water safety. Even if they have no desire to swim, learning is an essential (not to mention potentially life-saving) skill. Check with your local YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, or other public pool for available educational opportunities.
Swimming pools are a great way to add some fun to the sunny summer months. If you’re planning on setting up an inflatable pool in your backyard, make sure you follow all of the necessary precautions to keep young children safe.