State of Florida Swimming Pool Laws
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Because Florida has year-round warm temperatures, it might make more sense for Florida residents to build a pool in their yards than it would for a resident of a state like North Dakota, where temperatures are much cooler. Because there are many pools in Florida, the risk of drowning is more prevalent. According to the Florida Department of Health, unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death in the state among children ages 1 to 4. The state’s swimming pool laws are designed to decrease the number of deaths and improve safety.
A swimming pool in Florida is required to feature a barrier at least 48 inches high surrounding it. The barrier must completely enclose the pool and cannot have any gaps, openings, protrusions or other areas through which a child could climb or crawl. The barrier must not be placed directly next to the pool to avoid an accident occurring during which a person who cannot swim might make his way through the fence and immediately fall into the pool upon reaching the other side.
Above-Ground Pool Barriers
The walls surrounding an above ground pool may be deemed sufficient to serve as the barrier around the pool as long as they meet the requirements previously mentioned; specifically, the pool walls must be at least 4 feet high and the pool must not be directly next to another fence that could cause a person to fall into the pool. Any ladders used for these pools must be able to be removed, locked or secured to prevent being used.
Any gates included along the barrier that surrounds the pool must open outward, away from the pool. The gates also must automatically swing shut after they are released by the person opening the gate. The gate also must include a self-latching lock that closes the gate when it is released. The latch must be placed on the pool side of the gate so children cannot reach the latch and open it.
A barrier cannot be placed close to a permanent item that a child could use to climb over the barrier. For example, the barrier cannot be directly on the other side of a deck of a similar or greater height that would allow a child to scale or fall over the fence. The wall of a home may serve as part of a barrier as long as there are no doors or windows that allow access to the pool.