Texas law requires homeowners who have swimming pools to construct barriers around their pools to help prevent accidental drowning deaths. Under the law, swimming pool barriers:

  • Must be at least four feet high.
  • Cannot have any gaps, openings, indentations or protrusions that would allow a spherical object of four inches to pass under or between the barriers.
  • Cannot be made of chain link fence.
  • Must have self-close or self-lock gates that are lockable by padlock, combination lock or built-in key or card-operated lock.
  • Latches must be installed in the upper one-quarter of the pool side of the gate to prevent children from opening them easily.

Aboveground pools must also meet these same standards with the added proviso that ladders or steps must be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access to the pool. If the wall of the house serves as part of the pool’s barrier, all doors that permit access to the pool area from the home are required to have an alarm that sounds when the door is opened. Any alarm bypass must be set high enough on the wall that it cannot be reached by children.

In addition to state regulations, most cities have pool fence codes that homeowners must meet or face fines. Some homeowners associations also impose regulations for pool fencing, so if your housing development has an HOA, be sure to check their rules for pools.

Homeowners with pools should also institute safety rules for pool use, including:

  • Always lock the pool enclosure when no one is home.
  • Consider having a wood fence surrounding the swimming area, which can keep pools out of view, thereby removing temptation for children.
  • Have a pool alarm that sounds when someone enters the pool.

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