A quick swim on a hot summer day can be relaxing and enjoyable. The best way to relax around a pool when children are present is to minimize the chance of accidents by using simple precautions. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges parents to be prepared in case of an emergency. Of course the simplest prevention is to watch children while they play in the pool. The next best requirement to protect children is to have multiple barriers, or fencing, around a swimming pool. The Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 51, details the minimum required swimming pool barriers.
Louisiana Barrier Law
Louisiana State law specifically identifies the types of swimming pools that require barriers around them. Class A swimming pools (for competitions or diving) and Class B walls (exceeding 2.9 feet) have to be enclosed. The barrier can be a "fence, wall, building, enclosure, or solid wall of durable material, according to state code.
According to the Louisiana Administrative Code, all fences or barriers must not be climbable from the outside of the pool area. There can be no potential foot-holds on the fence exterior. The barrier needs to be built at least 4 feet tall. The gates to the pool area need to be self-closing and self-latching. The latches must not be accessible to children who can't reach more than 3 and 3/4 feet high.
Day Care Centers
Louisiana day care centers have stricter fencing codes. Even wading pools or above ground pools need to be fenced at a day care center, according to state law. If a day care center has a pool or is near water, the fence blocking the water must be at least 5 feet tall. Additionally, the fence shall be no higher than 3 and a half inches from the ground, and must not have any holes larger than 3 and a half inches in diameter.
According to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, each state must provide standards equivalent or better than federal law. Louisiana does meet federal law requirements. Federal law mandates that each state issues laws for all residential pools to be fenced well enough so small children cannot gain access without an adult. Federal law mandates that all pools use safe drainage systems so suction cannot hold children under the water.
According to the Center for Disease Control, fences should not be more than 2 inches from the ground and all holes should never exceed 4 inches in diameter. The gate should swing away from the swimming area and the latch should be on the inside of the swimming area. An alarm should be installed to go off when the fence is opened. If a pool is residential and it's doors provide pool access, they should have self-locking latches and be connected to the alarm.
Candice Geier has been a journalist since 2008. Her work has appeared in the "Pueblo Chieftain," "Colorado Central Magazine" and on the Colorado State University-Pueblo Today website, as well as in its quarterly magazine. Geier received a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University, where she was the managing editor for the university magazine.