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Why private swimming pools should be fenced

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by nubka, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

  2. tarotx

    tarotx Well-Known Member

    I 100% agree. The neighbors have just installed an in ground pool and they have small children. They have put up a huge privacy fence but I told my BF that I hope they have a fence around the pool. He looked at me like I was a weirdo and said you don't put a pool around your own pool. I'm emailing him all these stories. I will never have a pool because I have a 5 year old son and I just don't trust swimming without a lifeguard present.

    I do believe that along with a required fence or perhaps high tech cover&privacy fence, owners of pools should have a CPR certification.
  3. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Our friends almost lost their toddler that way. The only thing that saved that kid was that his big sister heard a splash and ran out to see what was going on.
  4. pair mom

    pair mom New Member

    Barb Underhill tragically lost one of her twin girls this way...and often there is NO splash....:(
  5. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    Totally agree with everyone. All pools should have a fence around them, high enough and without horizontal slates that kids cannot climb over it, and with some sort of lock latch that is child proof. You can't be too careful. A privacy fence is nice, but won't save lives.
  6. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    New York State specifically requires all residential swimming pools to be fenced. and not just with a fence surrounding the yard, but surrounding the pool, itself, which the pool in the story did not have.


    Pools constructed after December 14, 2006 must be equipped with a pool alarm.

    There's a lot more info in the link, but you get the idea.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  7. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is what I meant to say. The pool should have a fence surrounding it, not the just the yard. :(
  8. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    We have a pool. Our kids were older (10 and 13) when we got it, but we purchased a walk on cover that is key operated. The lock is within view of the pool and you need a key to open the cover. I've walked across it several time so I know it is safe. The tricky part is when the pool is open and there are lots of people around - like at a party. We have a fence between the pool and the eating area and play area. The gate is self closing. You can get to the pool from the back door so there is always that risk. When my kids were little (and we didn't have a pool) I always set the house alarm to chime if a door or window was opened so I knew if a child was going outside.

    The thing about pools is that there are so many misconceptions. First, people think if they take their babies to swimming lessons they will "drown proof them." The reality is, is doesn't work. Young kids who fall in a pool can't climb out and they can't swim for long, if at all. Dunking small children under the water to teach them to swim also has other hazards - but that is another thread. Second, many don't realize that drowning is a silent death. People who are drowning generally don't call out or thrash about like you see on TV. The body goes into a mode to save energy and they will hover just above, just below the the water line before finally going under. If you can't see the pool, you won't hear a kid drown. Third, pool accidents are just that, accidents. For the most part it really doesn't matter how good a swimmer the person is. If you hit your head, you hit your head, and swimming doesn't enter the equation. Finally, I am the most vigilant when there are many adults around. When you have lots of adults around the pool and kids are swimming, everyone assumes someone else is watching. I always make sure there is someone reliable who is responsible for watching. We try to do it so the shifts are short - 15 minutes at a time. That way we know there is someone paying attention.

    We have fairly strict building codes around pools, and the yard must be fenced, but I think that if the pool is not fenced off, a walk on cover should be required. When we looked into an alarm, we were told by a number of pool contractors that they are not a good idea. Apparently they are quite unreliable especially if a child walks into the pool by going down the stairs. They are designed for the big splash entry, which apparently is not what usually happens. I didn't do any further research because I liked the idea of having the pool completely locked down when we aren't around.

    Just an aside, but I remember reading last year that many drowning deaths happen each summer because kids have contests to see how long they can hold their breath under water. Someone hold too long and passes out and the other kids panic. If there isn't an adult watching you end up with a tragedy. Apparently this has even happened just in wading pool :(
  9. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    I remember the attractive nuisance doctrine taught at business school. Because of the doctrine, you're liable for damages in situations like this (if there aren't already legislation passed on the subject matter)
  10. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    That is so sad.

    I think I've read about pool alarms that float and detect splashes and start shrieking -- not nearly as good as a good fence, but perhaps as a second line of defense?

    The majority of California pools I've seen in backyards are not fenced off from the house.
  11. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who had a swing in his front yard-one of those rope things with a tire attached to a tree limb. His kids loved it. But one day while the kids were at school and he and his wife were at work, a complete stranger and his kids trespassed onto their property and played on the swing. One child fell off the swing and was injured. My friend was sued for having an "attractive nuisance." Something about this is just totally unfair! Can you not place a "no trespassing" sign? In this case, the child was not badly hurt, but the charges were pretty severe, and we all thought the father of the trespassing family had seen this as an opportunity to make some money. Shame on him for using his own child that way. Nothing about this seems right.
  12. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

    Does there have to be a sign on someone's private property for strangers to keep off it? :eek: That doesn't sound right. If someone enters private property unasked I would assume that everything that happens is their own fault and they'd better keep quiet about it because otherwise they'd be charged. After all, they had no right to be where they were, did they? I'm shocked that someone could sue and stand a chance in a case like that. It's insane.

    On topic, I almost drowned when I was 3 or 4 years old at my parents' friends' place. They had a bar-b-q, adults were on the terrace, my friend and I played with our scooters at the unfenced pool. I just fell in and was lucky enough that one of the adults saw it. I guess it wouldn't have happened had the pool been fenced but I think Germans would put up a riot if someone tried to tell them what to do in their own back yard. However, I think I'm all for a requirement that pools need to be fenced in.
  13. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    I'll be the voice of dissent and disagree ;).

    Some swimming pools are almost artistic pieces (eg. specially designed infinity pools, etc). And if you have homeowners without children, why should they be forced to erect an eyesore kiddie gate around their very expensive water feature?

    I think government overdoes it at times trying to regulate the heck out of homeowners and individuals, and to me requiring *all* swimming pools to have such kiddie gates regardless of actual need for them would be an example of that.

  14. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    I do see your point. Guess I'm just one of those better safe than sorry type people...
  15. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

    It seems to be that way. My fil had a pool in his yard, no it wasn't fenced, but he did live on a farm. Anyone driving in the yard in the summertime with kids was told, there was a pool. You could either swim in it, or the onus was on you to watch your kids. But pools are considered to be an attractive nuisance as are trampolines, hot tubs.........

    You can't legislate common sense. You would think that if someone has something on their personal property it's not yours to use, and that includes telling your children that too. That's not the case tho.
  16. Jemestone

    Jemestone New Member

    ITA. I'll fence up my yard (front, back, and sides) but my pool too?? That's a little too much if I don't have kids.
  17. Rogue

    Rogue Sexy Superhero

    And why does it have to be an eyesore kiddie gate? Fences can be quite decorative and add to the ambiance.
  18. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    Florida requires fencing but since almost all residential pools are screened that satisfies the requirement. The law also requires an alarm on house doors opening to the pool area but existing pools were grandfathered and our doors are not wired.
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    In some states, yes. Horses also fall (in certain states*) under "attractive nusiance", meaning the homeowner has to make an effort to keep people out. However, if they HAVE made the effort, and trespassers ignore the warning, the homeowner is not in fact liable--if you climb the eight-foot privacy fence around the pool, if you crawl under the posted electrobraid to get into the horse pasture, etc., you're ignoring clearly-posted indications you are not supposed to be there. Though I'm waiting for the parent who argues "But my little Poopykins is FOUR, she couldn't READ the 'No Tresspassing/Electrified Fence' signs."

    *Open-range or "fence-out" states are a little different-livestock has right-of-way and if you don't want the animals on your property, you have to fence them out.
  20. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    When I was less than a year old, we lived in Florida and had a screened in pool. My dad used to take me in it and I just loved it - I would scream when he took me out (I am still a fish). When my mother was working in the kitchen, she'd put me on the floor and let me take pots and pans out of a lower cabinet to keep myself amused. She had a gate on the kitchen door to keep me in there, but the sliding door was usually open and the screen door was not locked. No-one thought I could open it....

    One day the doorbell rings so my mother answers it. The teenage kid who lives behind us shoves her out of the way, runs through the house, and jumps in the pool fully clothed. And comes up out of the pool with me. I had gotten the screen door open, and fortunately, he was in his backyard and saw me dive into the pool. He said I was floating on my back kicking around, but I had only been there a couple of minutes.

    Interestingly, when we moved to Maryland when I was 5, we built a house with a pool - and no fence. Ah the 60s!
  21. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    Actually that is a valid argument in some attractive nuisance jurisdictions, but liability would likely be apportioned between the parent who was not attending the child and the owner of the nuisance.


    In Holley's example, application of this doctrine is ridiculous if the parent took the children on the property. If he came on to rescue his trespassing children, it could be different. But the policy is that everyone should take steps to protect children, and the burden of not having a tire over a pond is small as opposed to the benefit of protecting children.
  22. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    CA has a law requiring it.

    There was some other law in place before that.............at least 20 years.

    This (along with baking your child in the car) are two of the most tragic preventable deaths of which I know. I don't know how you live with yourself after this.
  23. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Some pools are stand alone architectural pieces, so putting a fence around it of any sort is going to disturb it. Other pools are designed to be part of a larger landscape, with waterfalls and lush hanging plants and such. Fences of any sort would disrupt that.

    I think the best you could hope for in those cases are fences that detract as minimally as possible. But they certainly wouldn't add to any ambiance.
  24. Rogue

    Rogue Sexy Superhero

    My understanding is that the fence doesn't have to be right next to the waterline, but can be around the deck and other landscaping. A good architect and designer can design a fence that will fit in with any design or enhance the design. The fence (other than the gate, of course) can even be built of stone matching the waterfall, if so desired. It can also be totally obscured by landscaping (bushes and trees) which add to the ambiance plus provide privacy.

    Of course it costs more, but if you are able to afford the waterfalls and lush hanging plants, you should be able to afford a good fence as well. Better to pay for the fence now than to pay for damages and lawyers later.
  25. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    I think the idea for some is they want to be able to see the pool. That's the visual centerpiece. Obscuring that with a wall defeats the aesthetic purpose. In many situations, the pool is visible by large glass windows, and there may not be much distance between the windows and the actual pool. Having a wall in between the two effectively means looking out your windows to a wall. Not exactly great ambiance.
  26. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

    Piranhas provide a clean line AND keep pesky trespassers away.
  27. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    What a great kid!
  28. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Here is Arizona, we hear constant reminder on TV to watch your kids around pools, and yet we keep hearing about tragedies. It takes only a few seconds of distraction for a kid to fall in the pool.

    We have rules here. Either the pool must be fenced or the sliding glass door at the back of the house must be a certain kind. It closes automatically. I have that kind of sliding door. I don't have children, so I opted not to have a fence. However, when my brother & his family visited me while my nephews were young, I was always extremely nervous. I did not let the kids even go near the sliding glass door. At one time I considered buying a temporary cover over the pool just before they visited.

    Long ago one of my coworkers who had just moved here said she was not going to buy a home with a pool because she had a 3 year old son. I think that is the smartest decision.

    My advice is- if you have young children, please don't buy a home with a backyard pool. Wait until all of them are over age 10.
  29. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    what about people with ponds on their land? or creeks? are you supposed to fence them in too?
  30. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

    For ponds and creeks I recommend alligators.