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  • Mario Monge

Swimming Pool and Spa Safety and Barriers

Updated: Feb 18

Swimming pool safety is important to consider when building or remodeling pools and spas, not only because it will influence the project’s design but also because specific law requirements must be met.


The Swimming Pool Safety Act outlines pool safety requirements in California and aims to reduce drowning incidents and improve pool safety for kids. This law was recently updated in 2018, and now states that new or remodeled swimming pools and spas for single-family homes need to have at least two safety barriers or mechanisms in place. Having multiple barriers is crucial because in the event that one barrier fails, there is another in place to prevent a child from reaching the water alone or unsupervised.


There are seven approved drowning prevention safety features designated by the Swimming Pool Safety Act.


These features include:


➔ enclosures or pool safety fences that isolate the pool or spa from the home.


➔ removable mesh fencing with a self-closing and self-latching gate.


➔ approved pool covers.


➔ exit alarms on any of the home’s doors that provide access to the pool or spa.


➔ self-latching and self-closing devices with release mechanisms at least 54 inches above the ground installed on any of the home’s doors that provide access to the pool or spa.


➔ an alarm for pool safety that can be placed in the water and will sound upon accidental or unauthorized entrance.


➔ another means of swimming safety protection that has been independently verified by an approved testing lab.



In addition to having at least two of these safety features, pool and spa drains must be fitted with anti-entrapment grates that cannot be removed without tools and prevent potential suction hazards for swimmers. Before issuing their final approval for the completion of a new or remodeled swimming pool or spa, local building code officials will inspect the required drowning prevention features and ensure everything is compliant.


According to the California Department of Public Health, drowning is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five in California. By following state building requirements and installing the correct safety measures, these incidents can be prevented and your swimming pool or spa can be enjoyed safely.


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