The best pool builders know a job shouldn’t be called completed until there is a proper fence around it for this precise reason. It’s the type of story parents shudder to even think about. A young child is blissfully adventuring around outside when he wanders a little to close to the backyard pool that’s not fenced in. The most recent tragic pool accident making international news didn’t happen in one of the 10.4 million residential pools in the United States, but it’s a solemn reminder of the importance of fencing and securing your backyard pool at all times.
According to the Australian news source ABC.net.au, a coroner in Tasmania is calling for mandatory federal fencing laws after completing his findings into the death of a four-year-old boy last year. Coroner Simon Cooper determined what was obvious to those involved, that the boy, who he referred to as J in his report, fell through the solar dome pool cover while climbing on top of it and died of drowning.
Pool covers are a great way to reduce evaporation and heating costs of a pool from 50% to 70%, but they can also be incredibly dangerous if fallen into/under.
The incident happened last year while the boy was staying with his grandparents. He told them he was going outside to play and somehow or another found himself on top of the backyard pool’s cover.
“He did not, however, like the water and was unable to swim,” Cooper said. “There is little doubt in my mind that had this pool been fenced then the boy would not have drowned in the circumstances in which he did.”
While some states in the U.S. have their own laws and regulations on pool design fences, there is no federal mandate on the books. The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals does have a model barrier code and the International Code Council has a list of seven safety standards all pool fences should adhere to, including in ground pools should be surrounded by a fence of at least four feet. However, unless local legislation requires it they are only recommendations.