According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,443 accidental drownings in the United States in 2007. To prevent further tragedies, several states, including Texas, have adopted residential pool-safety requirements, as encouraged by the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Single-family residences and multi-housing units in Texas are subject to regulations designed to ensure that pools are enjoyed safely.
Title 9, Chapter 757 of Texas’s Health and Safety Code stipulates that property owners must have their pool area completely enclosed to a height of at least 48 inches. Title 7, Section 214.101 of the state’s Local Government Code allows municipalities to enact ordinances requiring minimum standards for pool fences and enclosures. The municipality may require property owners to repair or replace any section of the pool enclosure that violates the minimum standards.
State law requires residential pools to be equipped with a number of safety devices. Pools must have a throwing rope that is at least 1/4-inch in diameter; a reaching pole that is at least 12 feet long and does not conduct electricity; and a power or manual safety cover. Residential pools must also have an anti-entrapment device.
Texas’ Drowning Prevention and Swimming Pool Safety Act requires the Department of State Health Services to issue pool-safety recommendations for residential pools. These recommendations encompass pool covers, enclosures, entrance devices and suction outlets. The act also requires pool retailers and manufacturers to provide consumers with information on DSHS’s pool-safety recommendations.