Each year in Rhode Island and elsewhere, thousands of families witness swimming pool tragedies with a majority of these involving drowning or near-drowning incidents. Many of these accidents involve young children in residential settings. But, we know that a majority of these swimming pool accidents, particularly in the summer season, are preventable. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for 1- to 4-year-old children. Each year, nearly 300 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools.
Why is a Fence So Important?
When you talk about swimming pool safety, you will often hear the words “layers of protection.” This is because no one swimming pool safety device can work 100 percent to keep your backyard pool as safe as it could be. When you add another safety device to an existing one, it adds another layer of protection to your pool and the overall safety of your backyard.
A pool fence with a self-latching and self-locking gate is the first barrier and probably the most important layer of protection against child drowning. Pool fences and gates serve an important role in keeping out young children from the pool area. Pool alarms can alert you to unauthorized entry into the swimming pool or surrounding areas. Mesh and solid safety covers are great for preventing entry into the water when the pool is not being used for long periods of time such as during the winter months. Automatic pool covers are easy to use during the summer and offer great protection.
Rhode Island Pool Fence Laws
Rhode Island has an official list of rules and regulations when it comes to swimming pool fences developed by the Rhode Island Department of Health as early as in 1975. It has been amended nine times since it was first passed. Here are some highlights of the law every Rhode Island homeowner should know:
- The fence around the pool should be at least 4 feet high. The gap between the bottom of the fence and ground can be two inches maximum. If the fence is a solid wall, it can’t have any protrusions that would allow someone to climb or jump over it.
- The swimming pool gate must open to the outside and come with a self-closing and latching device. You should also be able to lock it. If the latching device is situated lower than 54 inches higher than the bottom of the gate, it has to be located on the pool side of the gate, and it must be located at least three inches below the top of the gate.
- The fence could be made out of materials such as chain link, wood, cement and metal. However, it should not have any openings in it that are large enough to push a four-inch sphere through.
Swimming Pool Accidents
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or if you have lost a loved one in a swimming pool accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights and options. Our personal injury law firm is working with swimming pool lawyers who have experience handling these types of cases and helping victims and their families secure maximum compensation for their losses. Contact us at 1-800-992-6878 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation, or contact us online.