In Arizona, about 30 children a year are lost to drownings. Arizona children, ages 1 to 4, are at higher risk and drown at a rate of nearly twice the national average. Because of this, the State of Arizona and most counties and cities within the state, have passed swimming pool barrier laws.
These laws require that a swimming pool be completely enclosed by a fence to restrict access to the pool from an adjoining property. These laws generally also include requirements for barriers to be installed to restrict easy access from the home to the pool. Specific requirements regarding height, type of fences, gates, and windows and doors from the home that lead to the pool area are often included.
What information can you expect to receive when you’re ready to make an offer on a house that has a pool? Most purchase contracts include a “Notice to Buyer of Swimming Pool Barrier Regulations”. The buyer and seller both acknowledge the existence of state, county, and municipal laws, and the buyer agrees to investigate and comply with these laws. The seller is required to give the buyer a copy of the pool safety notice from the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the buyer is required to be given a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, which discloses any known code violations on the property.
What if the pool fence is not up to code at the house you want to buy? The Arizona REALTORS Purchase Contract says: “During the Inspection Period, Buyer agrees to investigate all applicable state, county, and municipal swimming pool barrier regulations and agrees to comply with and pay all costs of compliance with said regulations prior to occupying the Premises unless otherwise agreed in writing.”
Does your above-ground pool have to adhere to the same barrier laws? Above-ground pools have the same requirements as in-ground pools regarding enclosures. It must be at least four feet high with a wall that’s not climbable and steps or ladders that are lockable or removable.
Most cities and counties have varying pool barrier laws, so it’s important to contact your local governmental department. Fountain Hills residents can call Building Safety at 480-816-5177.
Arizona Department of Health Services Pool Safety Recommendations:
- Never leave a child unattended in the pool or pool area.
- Because flotation devices and swimming lessons are not a substitution for supervision, a child should always be watched when in or around the pool area.
- CPR/CCR instructions and the 911 emergency number (or local emergency number) should be posted in the pool area.
- A phone should be located in the pool area or easily accessible in case of an emergency.
- All residential pool owners should attend water rescue and CPR/CCR classes. Lifesaving equipment should be easily accessible and stored in the pool area.
- All gate locks and latches should be checked regularly to ensure they are working properly.
- A gate should never be left propped open.
- All items that could be used to climb a pool barrier should be removed from around the barrier.
- In an emergency:
- Shout for help;
- Pull the child from the water;
- Call 911 (or local emergency number) for help; and
- After checking the child’s airway and breathing, immediately begin CPR/CCR if necessary.
CLICK HERE for more information from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
CLICK HERE for more information about Arizona’s pool barrier laws.