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Fencing your home swimming pool

Most cities and towns have laws to make sure that people with swimming pools have a fence around their property. This fence prevents neighbourhood children from getting into your pool. But your children or children visiting you can still get to the pool through the house.

Almost half of all drownings and near drownings in children under 14 happen in swimming pools. Young children are very attracted to water, but don’t see the possible danger. Most child drownings happen when a child is walking or playing near the water, not when they are swimming or planning to swim.

A Better Way to Fence Your Pool: 4-Sided Fencing

Four-sided fencing can:

  • Stop children in your house from getting to the pool 
  • Protect children outside your home
  • Prevent 7 out of 10 drownings or near drownings of children under 5 in private pools (according to a researcher’s estimates)

We think pool owners should install 4-sided fencing, even though most local by-laws do not require it. Right now, by-laws allow the house to be the ‘fourth’ side of the fence, but this lets children get to the pool easily from the house.

Every pool (inground, above-ground and inflatable) that is at least 2 feet (0.6 metres ) deep should have a four-sided fence around it.

If you have an above ground pool connected to your house by a deck, you can install a fence and gate on the deck between the house and pool.

Pool fencing checklist

Immediate pool area

  • Should only have things needed for the pool like pool equipment or patio furniture. Play structures
    and other toys in the pool area can tempt children to play where they may fall in the pool.


Should separate your pool from your house

  • Should separate your pool from your neighbours
  • Should be at least 4 feet high (1.2 m), all the way around. Some municipalities require 5 foot high
    (1.5 m) fencing. Check the by-laws in your area.
  • Spaces between the fence and the ground must be less than 2 inches (5cm)
  • Should be designed to prevent climbing by young children
  • For chain link fences, make sure the chain link openings are no more than 1.5 inches wide (3.8cm)
  • For wood or iron fences, make sure that:
    • Horizontal fence rails are at least 45 inches apart
    • All vertical rails are no more than 4 inches (10 cm) apart
  • Check your fence. Repair any holes, broken parts, etc.

Pool Gate

  • Should be as high as your fence:
    at least 4 feet high (1.2m) some municipalities require 5 feet fencing (1.5m), so check the by-laws in your area
  • Should be self-closing, self-latching and lockable
  • Make sure the latching hardware is on the inside of the pool area, so children outside the pool area can’t reach it
  • Should be locked when the pool is not being used

Check your local municipality for the pool fencing by-laws in your area.

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