About 30 children a year are lost to drownings in Arizona. Children, ages 1 to 4, are at higher risk and drown at a rate of nearly twice the national average. As a result, the State of Arizona and most of its counties and cities, have passed swimming pool barrier laws.
The law requires that a swimming pool be completely enclosed by a fence to restrict access to the pool from an adjoining property. This generally also includes requirements for barriers to be installed to prevent 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.
I’m making an offer on a house with a pool. What information should I expect to receive? Most purchase contracts include a “Notice to Buyer of Swimming Pool Barrier Regulations”. Both buyer and seller acknowledge the existence of the state, county, and municipal laws, and the buyer agrees to do due diligence 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 house I want to buy does not have a pool fence that is up to code? 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.”
What if the home I want to buy has an above-ground pool? Does it have to adhere to the same barrier laws? Above-ground pools have the same barrier requirements as in-ground pools. It must be at least four feet high with a wall that’s not climbable and steps or ladders that are lockable or removable.
Pool barrier laws vary from city to city and county to county. Be sure 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.