Residential Pools Safety

Many people are taking advantage of summer by spending time relaxing and socializing at residential pools. While enjoying the remainder of the warmest season, it is important to take poolside precautions to keep everyone safe. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports approximately 280 pool-related fatalities of children younger than age five occur annually. Additionally, an average of 2,700 children visit emergency rooms for pool-related injuries every year. New York legislation requires all residential homes to follow certain regulations regarding swimming pool safety. This legislation applies to all in-ground pools, above-ground pools, indoor pools, hot tubs, spas, and wading pools. Understanding and abiding by these regulations is vital to keeping family and friends safe from catastrophic accidents.

Barrier Requirements

Barriers are necessary for protecting non-supervised children and others from poolside injuries and drowning accidents. Most homeowners choose to use fencing as a barrier. New York requires all fencing to completely surround the swimming pool. It must be a minimum of four feet in height. If a building wall is to be considered as part of the barrier, the owners are required to use a powered safety cover on the pool. Owners must also provide an alarm or self-latching device for all doors directly accessing the pool area.


In New York, any pool construction occurring after December 2006 requires the installation of an approved pool alarm. It must be able to detect movement across the entire pool’s surface. To cover this area, installation of more than one device may be necessary. The alarm must be audible throughout the entire premises. If an owner chooses to use a safety cover for a pool or hot tub, alarm requirements may be waived.

Entrapment Protection

A common cause of child injuries and drownings in residential pools occurs when the force of suction from drains is too strong to escape. This is called entrapment. To protect swimmers from becoming trapped under the water, regulations aim to disperse a pool’s suction as evenly as necessary. This keeps the suction force evenly distributed and as weak as possible. Mandatory entrapment prevention includes the following:

  • Suction fittings must be fitted with a standard cover. They must include either a drain grate of a specific size or an approved channel drain system.
  • In case a drain grate cover breaks, an atmospheric vacuum relief system is required as a back-up. This system must have either a safety vacuum relief system or a gravity drainage system.
  • Pump circulation systems require a minimum of two types of approved suction outlets with at least three feet between each outlet to decrease suction.
  • Vacuum cleaner fittings are required to be less than 12 inches below the water level or attached to skimmers.

Schwartzapfel® Lawyers – New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Lack of supervision, leaving children by, near or in a pool to answer a phone or for any reason is dangerous and the consequences could be deadly. Lack of adherence to poolside safety regulations can lead to potentially catastrophic events. Near-drowning injuries can quickly cause brain damage in small children, resulting in life-altering medical conditions and expenses. Residential pool drowning fatalities are usually preventable. If you have experienced a pool-related injury or death, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney quickly. At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, our legal team believes negligent parties should be held financially responsible. The unwavering dedication to the legal justice system by Attorney Steven Schwartzapfel® is shared by all of our attorneys. We will compassionately and efficiently walk you through the entire legal process. Contact us at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers for a free consultation today.

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