How to Keep Your Pool Fence Safe for Children

How to Keep Your Pool Fence Safe for Children

Posted in: Fencing

In Miami, investigations are ongoing into the death of a three-year-old boy who drowned in a pool at his daycare facility.

According to police, the week has brought a new development to the case: investigators discovered that Department of Children and Families (DCF) inspector Sam Fateru didn't actually measure the fencing around the pool in order to ensure it was of adequate height.

A new report indicates that the fence and gate surrounding the pool are a foot short of the state's minimum. They also found that the gate itself was completely against state code, as it had openings a child can -- and did -- slip through.

When you have a pool, ensuring that the fencing surrounding it is up to standards is important. A lack of proper fencing can lead to potentially lethal accidents. Both children and pets, especially dogs, drown in pools each year -- it's worth noting that 70% of children who drown were not expected to be in or near the pool at the time. How can you keep your pool area safe? Here are a few things you should know about pool fences.

The Regulations Regarding Outdoor Fences for Pools

  • There is currently no national standard regarding pool fences. Instead, ordinances and regulations vary state-by-state. The majority of states have at least some requirements in place that stipulate how high the fence must be, how the gate locks, and how far apart the pickets can be.
  • The CPSC has a downloadable PDF of recommendations that include making sure that outdoor fences are 48 inches high, and ensuring that they lack footholds children could use to climb over. Spacing of pickets is recommended to not exceed 1.75 inches.
  • Aboveground pools should have both a fence for safety, as well as a removable ladder or a ladder blocked off by a secure barrier.
  • Pool fence gates should have a locking mechanism, and should be self-latching and self-closing.


Three Facts to Keep in Mind Regarding Children and Outdoor Fences

  • If part of the home serves as a barrier to the pool -- such as a sliding door -- an alarm should go off when the door is opened unless it is reset by an adult, as this is a common way children gain access to pool areas.
  • Adequate fencing is important because over 75% of child victims were missing for five minutes or less before they were found submerged or drowned in the pool. Children can drown very quickly.
  • Supervision is not always the culprit; the majority of victims manage to get into pool areas while supervised by one or both parents, according to the CPSC.


Modern fences don't need to be an unattractive addition to your landscaping. Wood and wrought iron fences are popular choices for pool fencing that can complement your gardens, while having the added benefit of keeping your pool area safe for everyone.

What residential fences and gates do you use to keep your pool safe? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Brett Crouse