About a third of all children ages 1 to 4 who die accidentally each year are victims of drowning. Most of the deaths happen in swimming pools and, according to the Center of Disease Control, a major risk factor is "lack of barriers." Swimming pool safety is a critical concern nationwide, yet each state enforces its own regulations. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts imposes strict standards for swimming pools.
Older Inground Swimming Pools, Wading pools and Therapeutic Pools
Inground swimming pools, wading pools (defined as a basin chiefly for children with a maximum depth of 2 feet) and therapeutic pools (such as spas and hot tubs) that were constructed before October 2, 1975 need to be surrounded by a secure fence that is a minimum height of 4 feet tall. The gates for the fencing enclosures must be secured with latches that are at least 4 feet above the ground so that small children cannot reach them or are inaccessible to children who are younger than 8 years old.
Newer Inground Swimming Pools, Wading pools and Therapeutic Pools
Inground swimming pools, wading pools and therapeutic pools that have been constructed after October 2, 1975 need to be surrounded by a secure fence that is a minimum height of 6 feet tall. Gate latches must be self-closing and self-latching and be placed at a height no lower than 4 feet above ground level. The latches must be mounted on the inside of the gate and be inaccessible to children who are younger than 8 years old. There are no gaps allowed in the fencing or gate area that are wider than 3 inches.
Indoor Swimming Pools
Indoor swimming pools must also be enclosed by a barrier that is a minimum height of 4 feet above floor level. Again, the latch must be self-closing and there can be no gaps wider than 3 inches in the fencing or gate area. Doors leading to the pool area must be self-closing and self-latching. All latches must be mounted at least 4 feet above the ground.
Public Swimming Pools
The same fencing regulations for inground pools apply to public swimming pools. In addition, no place of entry is allowed except through a bathhouse.
Access to above-ground pools must be secured with a barrier placed at least 4 feet above the ground.