Regulations regarding pool safety can vary by state. Take the time to find out what regulations apply in the areas in which you inspect.

From the US Consumer Product Safety commission

  1. Fences should be located where permanent structures cannot be used to climb them.
  2. Fences should be a minimum of 4 feet high (some jurisdictions require 5 feet).
  3. If the home exterior walls serve as a barrier, doors that open into the pool area should:
    1.  be self-closing;
    2. have self-latching devices or locks installed that are out of the reach of children; and
    3. should have alarms installed. (SEE MORE BELOW)
  4. Gaps between components like balusters and bottom rails should be less than 4 inches.
  5. If the space between the tops of top and bottom rails is less than 45 inches, they should be located on the pool side of the fence.
  6. Chain link fences mesh should not exceed 1.25 inches (measured parallel to strands, not diagonally).
  7. The maximum opening in a lattice fence should be 1.75 inches (measured diagonally).
  8. The barrier should not be constructed in a way that makes it climbable.


  1. Should be self-closing and self-latching.
  2. Should open away from the pool.
  3. When the gate release mechanism is less than 54 inches above the walkway, it should be located on the pool side of the gate, at least 3 inches down from the top.
  4. The gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2-inch within an 18-inch radius of the release mchanism.

Home Doors Serving as Pool Access Barriers

  1. The alarm should be LOUD and unique (not like the doorbell, smoke detectors, or phone).
  2. It should sound within 7 seconds of door being opened and last for at least 30 seconds.
  3. It should have a means (touchpad, switch, etc.) for re-set to allow adults to pass through the door without setting off the alarm. the re-set means should be at least 54 inches above the floor.

Above-ground Pools

  1. Must have a barrier compliant with the above.
  2. Access (ladders, stairs, etc.) must be secured in a manner that will deny children access.