For many people in Ohio, few things really capture the fun of summer like a backyard swimming pool. You have probably spent countless hours sitting in the sun, sipping a cold drink, listening to music and watching the children splash and play. It's relaxing and refreshing. You always feel a bit let down when it's time to close the pool at the end of the season, but you feel elated when you get to open it again and you know summer has really arrived.
That said, swimming pools have inherent dangers. Every year, young children fall into them and suffer serious injuries or even pass away. This can happen to your own kids, your neighbors' kids, friends who come over to play with your children or just other kids from the area who see the pool and decide to take a closer look.
That's why homeowners have a responsibility to make these spaces as safe as possible. They need to understand that children may not know how to swim and that very young kids do not make rational decisions. They honestly do not understand the serious risks. They make mistakes. It's up to adults to keep them safe.
With that in mind, here are a few requirements for swimming pool fences:
1. The fence has to completely enclose the pool
A fence along one side of the property is not enough. It has to completely block off the pool so that there is no way to get to it without passing through the house or a gate -- or climbing the fence. Homeowners do have a choice. Some opt to fence in the whole property or the entire yard. Others opt to fence in just the pool itself, along with the pool deck. Either option is fine, so long as the fence completely surrounds the pool.
2. The fence needs a locking gate
A gate without a lock renders the fence useless. Many people opt for gates that automatically swing closed and lock unless you actively hold them open. You need to be able to secure the pool with the lock when you're not home.
3. The gate and fence have to stay in good working order
Homeowners cannot let the fence or the gate fall into disrepair so that it no longer functions. If a section collapses, it must be repaired and rebuilt. If the gate's lock breaks, it needs to get replaced. Homeowners should check the gates and fences periodically to ensure that they're still up to code.
Has your child gotten injured or even passed away in a drowning accident that another homeowner could have prevented? Be sure you know what legal options you have.