As the weather heats up, you’re probably getting excited about opening your pool for the season. You might be ready, but is your pool gate? The importance of pool gate safety hardware might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about summer fun, but it’s something every homeowner should consider.
Importance of Pool Gate Safety Hardware
Did you know that drowning is the fifth most common cause of death in the United States? While you might expect these events to occur in riskier waters, most drowning-related injuries and fatalities occur in swimming pools. How does this happen so frequently?
The CDC cites many causes for this issue, but one of the main causes is a lack of pool fencing. One in four victims of drowning-related fatalities are children, and easily accessed swimming pools are particularly dangerous for children and young adults. Even the most well-behaved child can be tempted to go for an unsupervised swim on a hot day. In a recent study of drowning incidents in California, 70 percent of the children involved were not expected to be in the pool at the time of the event. Even worse, over a quarter of those drowning incidents took place at the homes of friends, family, or unwitting neighbors. If you do not have a trustworthy pool gate, you may be asking for trouble.
Is Your Pool an Attractive Nuisance?
While any drowning incident is a tragedy, you should also be aware of the potential legal consequences if it happens in your pool. In Missouri, swimming pools can be classified as “attractive nuisances.” Because children seek out swimming pools and are often unaware of the danger of unattended swimming, it’s the responsibility of adults to ensure they cannot access them.
If someone injures themselves in your pool without your knowledge, and the court concludes that you did not adequately protect them from it, you can be found liable. Even if you had no idea children were swimming in your pool regularly, it could only take one injury to make you legally and financially responsible for the damages.
What Makes a Pool Gate Safe?
The tragedy of a drowning death or injury in your pool is a frightening thing to contemplate. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to dramatically lower the chance of that occurring. A four-sided pool fence with a locking door can reduce the chance of a child drowning by 83 percent. This demonstrates the importance of pool gate safety hardware. The more difficult it is for people to use your pool without your knowledge, the less likely tragic accidents become.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, your pool gate needs to meet these specific guidelines:
- A pool should be surrounded by a four-sided gate that effectively separates it from the rest of your property.
- A pool gate should have a locking door. The key or passcode should only be accessible to a responsible adult.
- In addition to being lockable, a door that self-closes and self-locks is even safer. A homeowner might also want to consider attaching an alarm to the fence to scare off any would-be intruders.
- To prevent children from climbing in, the fence should be at least four feet high. Openings in the fence should be no wider than four inches. Any decorative cutouts or gaps in mesh should be no wider than an inch and a half.
The importance of pool gate safety hardware is clear. It protects you legally, it keeps people out of trouble, and it can even save a life. If you aren’t sure what kind of pool gate would be best for your property, why not ask the experts?
When you need an expert who can walk you through an effective pool fencing system, MMC Fencing & Railing is here for you. In our online shop, we sell aluminum and vinyl railing in a variety of styles and colors. So no matter what you’re looking for and no matter how large or small your budget, you’re sure to find something beautiful. Give us a call at 866-931-5002 to get started or to ask about installation options. We look forward to hearing from you!