Above-Ground Pool Barrier Requirements [2024 Guide]

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A Guide to Above-Ground Pool Barrier Requirements

On this page, we’ll provide an overview of Above-Ground Pool Barrier Requirements, investigations into defective aboveground pools, how parents can keep their children safe around an above ground swimming pool, and much more.

A State-by-State Guide to Barrier Requirements for Above-Ground Pools

As more families file lawsuits for above-ground pool accidents, questions about compliance surface.

In particular, more and more pool owners and concerned families are posing questions on whether or not backyard pool manufacturers follow regulations to keep their inflatable pools safe from unrestricted access.

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The lawsuits and growing number of accidents underscore the need for above-ground pool safety requirements.

These requirements vary from one state to another and govern every aspect of inflatable, above-ground, and kiddie pools, from their dimensions to the materials comprising their support bands.

Local jurisdictions may also have specific guidance on above ground pool safety.

Above ground pools, while popular for family recreation, require stringent safety measures and manufacturers may face liability for any defective designs that pose a risk, especially to children.

Our law firm is currently investigating defects present in certain aboveground pools, specifically the use of support bands that can be used as a foothold by children to enter the pool without supervision.

If your child was injured or tragically passed away due to the design flaws present in certain above ground swimming pools, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit.

Find out if you qualify for a lawsuit. Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the above-ground swimming pool accident lawsuit instantly.

Table of Contents

Design Flaws and Safety Risks of Above-Ground Swimming Pools

Above-ground pools come in various designs and dimensions.

Nevertheless, certain above ground swimming pools contain design flaws that may have been overlooked during the manufacturing and quality assurance stages.

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Here are some of the design flaws and safety risks that are inherent to above-ground pools:

  • Structural integrity issues
  • Lack of secure entrances
  • Minimal stability
  • Support barrier risks
  • Potential for overcrowding
  • Inadequacy of warning labels
  • Inadequate safety features

Structural Integrity Issues

Inflatable pools often consist of flexible materials that enable pools to expand to accommodate volumes of water.

Unfortunately, these materials are prone to damage from sharp objects, leading to punctures or tears.

Even minor damage compromises the pool’s stability and can cause rapid deflation.

Sudden deflation can potentially result in accidents, especially if small children are present.

Lack of Secure Entrances

Unlike in-ground pools, inflatable pools typically lack designated entry points with secure barriers.

This absence of defined access points increases the risk of unsupervised entry, particularly by curious children or pets.

Due to the absence of safe ladders and entry points, unsuspecting children become more vulnerable to submersion incidents like drowning.

Minimal Stability

When not installed or positioned correctly on level ground, most inflatable pools lack stability.

This instability heightens the risk of the pool tipping over, potentially causing injuries or even submersion incidents, especially for younger users.

To offset instabilities, manufacturers have resorted to outfitting their portable pools with support barriers.

These help retain the shape of an entire pool, keeping it stable and safe.

Unfortunately, the barriers become another design flaw that has caused numerous drowning accidents in recent years.

Nylon or Rubber Support Bands

Support bands in some above ground pools, intended to maintain structural integrity, can inadvertently serve as footholds for children, enabling them to climb into the pool unsupervised.

This design flaw significantly elevates the risk of accidental drownings, as young children may gain easy access to the pool water without adult supervision.

The presence of these bands, therefore, not only poses a serious safety hazard but also places a heightened responsibility on manufacturers to ensure their pool designs prioritize child safety.

Potential for Overcrowding

Overcrowding is a concern, particularly with smaller kiddie pools.

Smaller inflatable pools might inadvertently encourage overcrowding, surpassing their intended capacity.

This overcrowding heightens the risk of collisions among users, increasing the likelihood of accidents and making it more challenging to maintain proper supervision.

Inadequacy of Warning Labels

Inflatable pool manufacturers may not consistently provide comprehensive warning labels regarding potential risks and necessary safety precautions.

This lack of clear, standardized warnings can result in users being unaware of the inherent dangers associated with these pools, inadvertently increasing the likelihood of accidents.

The lack of clear warning labels is one of the oversights that might render manufacturers liable.

Inadequate Safety Features

Unlike an in-ground pool, an inflatable pool could lack essential safety features, such as non-slip surfaces or easily accessible emergency steps.

The absence of these features heightens the risk of accidents, especially slips and falls, and may contribute to entrapment incidents.

General Above-Ground Pool Safety Guidelines According to the CPSC

To minimize above-ground swimming pool accidents, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a booklet containing guidelines for pool safety.

The 20-page booklet covers above and in-ground swimming pool guidelines.

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The guidelines for above-ground pools include:

  • Safety barrier dimensions
  • Ways to limit access
  • Preventing access under and through the barrier
  • Barrier opening restrictions
  • Portable pool safety guidelines

Safety Barrier Dimensions

The CPSC underscores the importance of establishing precise barrier standards for above-ground pools.

According to these guidelines, the maximum clearance at the bottom of any pool barrier should not exceed four inches above the surface or ground, particularly when measured on the side of the barrier facing away from the pool.

Also, the industry recommendation specifies that if the bottom of the gate or fence rests on a non-solid surface, such as grass or gravel, the maximum clearance should be further limited to not exceed two inches.

This adjustment accounts for the variation in surface types to ensure a consistent and secure barrier, regardless of the ground conditions.

Ways To Limit Access

Methods to deter unauthorized entry include designing steps or ladders that are secured, locked, or removable.

Also, surrounding these access points with specified barriers, as outlined in the guidelines, is recommended to effectively discourage climbing into the pool area.

By limiting access, pool owners can prevent young children from accessing the pool area, protecting them from serious injuries and accidents.

Preventing Access Under and Through the Barrier

To prevent unauthorized access underneath the pool barrier, guidelines state that the maximum clearance at the bottom of the barrier should not exceed four inches above the surface or ground away from the pool.

Further specifications are provided for barriers on non-solid surfaces.

Barrier Opening Restriction

Guidelines emphasize the importance of all openings being small enough to prevent a four-inch diameter sphere from passing through.

This restriction is crucial to prevent children from passing through the barrier.

Also, the measurements ensure that the gaps would be too small to be used as a foothold.

Implementing Additional Portable Pool Safety Guidelines

Lastly, the CPSC guidelines have additional precautionary measures.

According to the manual, added measures include fencing, covering, emptying, or storing pools when not in use.

Besides safety measures, the CPSC also encourages pool owners to educate others about the presence of safety hazards.

Doing so is crucial to prevent accidents, injuries, and drowning.

Some State-by-State Variations in Safety Barrier Regulations

While the CPSC has set guidelines that apply in multiple states, regulations concerning above-ground pool safety barriers vary significantly across different states in the U.S.

These regulations are often dictated at the state level and can differ in their specifics, including barrier height, material requirements, and specifications for access points.

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While most states follow the guidelines set by the CPSC, here are some states that have slightly different safety regulations:

  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Washington
  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Virginia
  • New Jersey
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland

Other states were not included in the list because their safety guidelines apply to in-ground pools and public swimming pools.

Other states not mentioned in the list allowed local counties to develop and enforce safety barrier guidelines within their respective jurisdictions.

California

The guidelines for above-ground pools in California are contained within the 2022 California Residential Code.

According to the Residential Code, the safety barrier must follow the guidelines set by the CPSC.

However, the Residential Code differs in its guidelines for self-latching gates and alarms.

According to the Residential Code, a self-latching device for restricting pool access must be no lower than 54 inches above the floor.

Also, the latch must be accompanied by an alarm that emits either a noise or verbal warning that the pool area has been accessed.

Texas

The Texas Health and Safety Code is more flexible in its safety barrier requirements.

However, according to the Health and Safety Code, all pool owners must have self-closing gates, whether they own in-ground pools or above-ground swimming pools.

Besides the self-latching gates, the Texas Health and Safety Code also requires the gates’ latches to be no lower than 42 inches above the ground.

New York

In New York, the dimensions of safety barriers are in the 2020 Property Maintenance Code.

The Code requires safety barriers of above-ground pools to be at least 48 inches high.

The Code also allows alternative barriers as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • The structure must meet applicable barrier and gate requirements, including a 48-inch height.
  • The barrier should prevent potential drowning by adequately restricting access to the swimming pool.
  • Certification from the pool manufacturer affirming the structural integrity when used as a barrier.
  • If ladders or steps are the means of access, they must be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access, or they must be surrounded by a compliant swimming pool barrier.

Washington

Washington State’s Department of Health also has guidelines for safety barriers.

The barriers of inflatable or above-ground swimming pools must be at least 48 inches high to prevent access by children.

The top of the barrier must be unreachable to children.

There must also be a self-closing latch that is high enough to be inaccessible to children.

Arizona

The safety barrier guidelines in Arizona are contained within Arizona Legislature 36-1681.

According to the legislature, safety barriers for above-ground residential pools must be five feet high. As in other states, there must be self-closing gates for limiting pool access.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, safety barriers must also be 48 inches or four feet above ground.

However, the guidelines in the state indicate that if there’s any difference between ground levels, the barrier must be measured on the side that’s highest above the above-ground pool.

Virginia

The Code of Virginia outlines several criteria for safety barriers.

According to the Code, safety barriers must have a minimum height of four feet.

The clearance between the bottom of the barrier and the ground should be no more than two inches to prevent access.

Besides the dimensions of safety barriers, the Code also outlines guidelines for the distance between the barrier and the pool.

According to the Code, barriers should be five feet away from the edge of the pool.

New Jersey

Based on the New Jersey Construction Code, safety barriers must be at least four feet high and be a mesh or chain link fence.

The gaps between the meshing or links must be small enough to prevent a four-inch sphere or object from passing through.

Also, the Construction Code mentions what to do in the event of back-to-back barriers.

According to the Code, barriers should be apart from neighboring barriers.

If the situation is unavoidable, the neighboring barriers should not be climbable from either side.

Illinois

Illinois’s safety guidelines cover all types of pool facilities.

The one that contains safety barrier guidelines for residential above-ground pools is the Private Swimming Pool Enclosure Act.

Per the Act, safety barriers for above-ground pools must be at least 3.5 feet high.

For pools that are already 3.5 feet, the barriers must be higher.

Also, the barriers must fully enclose pools.

The barriers must have no large gaps or holes that can be used as footholds.

The barriers must also be accessible through just one entry point.

Iowa

Iowa’s Administrative Code contains safety barrier guidelines that follow those set by the CPSC.

Besides the dimensions mentioned in the CPSC, the Administrative Code also requires all barriers to consist of durable materials.

The Administrative Code identifies several materials deemed “durable.”

Among these materials are chain links and mesh.

Two materials not included in the list were nylon and rubber as these materials are inherently bendable and pose safety risks.

Kentucky

Safety barrier guidelines in Kentucky are in the Kentucky Building Code.

The Code requires safety barriers for all residential pools — both in-ground and above-ground pools — to be at least four feet high.

Also, self-closing latches must be the same height as the safety barrier.

The Kentucky Building Code also has weight-bearing standards for above-pool safety barriers.

According to the Building Code, safety barriers must be able to withstand at least 200 pounds.

Maine

Maine’s Revised Statutes require private pools to be surrounded by safety barriers with self-closing latches to limit pool access.

However, pools that are two feet or lower when filled up are exempted from having barriers.

Maryland

When it comes to safety barriers, Maryland follows international and state guidelines like the 2012 International Building Code and CPSC safety barrier guidelines.

However, safety barrier guidelines change almost yearly in Maryland.

For this reason, above-ground pool owners must keep abreast with the local changes in safety barrier standards.

The Importance of Safety Barrier Regulations

Pool barriers are among the most critical safety features of above-ground swimming pools.

These barriers keep young children from falling into the pool and sustaining severe injuries or drowning.

Due to the pivotal roles they play in pool safety, safety barriers must meet stringent standards.

Any failure to meet standards can lead to a severe injury or drowning incident.

Most importantly, failing to meet safety barrier standards represents a manufacturer’s negligence and oversight.

Negligence and oversight render manufacturers liable for any injuries or deaths from the design flaws of their products.

Meeting Safety Barrier Standards Is Critical to Public Safety

Safety barrier guidelines are more than boxes to tick off.

These guidelines are criteria that, when met, lead to a safer pool experience.

Everything from dimensions to the requirement of latches ensures that children who use the pool are protected from injuries and drowning.

The material standards with safety barrier guidelines ensure that these barriers and enclosures stay in place and keep children from unauthorized access to the pool.

The Risks of Non-Compliance

The consequences of not meeting safety barrier standards are profound and potentially devastating.

Failure to adhere to these standards increases the inherent risks associated with pool areas.

Without adequate barriers, the likelihood of unintended entry rises substantially, amplifying the threat of accidents and injuries.

Non-compliance significantly heightens the risk of drowning incidents, submersion injuries, or other pool-related accidents.

Subpar barriers place individuals, especially children, in potentially life-threatening situations.

The Legal Consequences for Manufacturers

Manufacturers play a pivotal role in ensuring their pool designs align with and exceed safety standards.

Failing to comply with these critical safety benchmarks not only jeopardizes lives but also invites legal repercussions.

Non-compliance can lead to legal actions, including litigation, product recalls, or severe penalties.

Manufacturers carry the legal responsibility of guaranteeing their products meet stringent safety criteria to avert accidents and mitigate potential legal ramifications that could arise due to non-compliance.

Lawsuits for Above-Ground Pools

Instances of legal action regarding above-ground pools highlight the serious implications of safety breaches.

These legal actions often emphasize the consequences of inadequate barriers or design flaws, revealing the potential dangers of non-compliant or defective pool structures.

One feature that has come under scrutiny is the support band.

In numerous above-ground pool products, support bands act as necessary structural enhancements.

Unfortunately, children can use these bands as an alternate foothold to gain pool access even when the ladder is removed or secured.

The CSPS has documented multiple accidents involving children using the support bands and falling victim to pool-related accidents.

If your or a loved one’s child accessed an above ground pool using this design flaw, and were subsequently injured or died, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the pool manufacturer.

Contact TorHoerman Law’s team of personal injury and product liability lawyers for a free consultation.

What Companies Manufacture Pools with Support Bands?

Numerous manufacturers contain the design choice of nylon or rubber support bands to enhance the structural integrity of the above ground pool.

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Among these manufacturers are:

  • Bestway
  • Intex
  • Coleman
  • Summer Waves
  • Blue Wave

These companies are facing legal action due to the design flaws of their above-ground pools.

The design flaws involve the nylon and rubber support bands of their inflatable and above-ground pools.

The support bands have been used by young children as an alternate access point.

As a result, children have gained unauthorized access to the pools, with many either drowning or sustaining severe injuries.

Find Out if You Qualify for a Lawsuit

Manufacturers have a duty to ensure the safety of their above-ground pool products.

If your child sustained injuries or drowned due to their poorly designed pools and safety bands, you need to take legal action with an experienced product liability attorney.

Above-Ground Pool Barrier Requirements; Above Ground Pool Lawsuit; Above Ground Pool Safety; Above Ground Pool Dangers; Design Flaws And Safety Risks Of Above-Ground Swimming Pools; General Above-Ground Pool Safety Guidelines According To The CPSC; Some State-By-State Variations In Safety Barrier Regulations; Lawsuits For Above-Ground Pools; Lawsuits For Above-Ground Pools; Find Out If You Qualify For A Lawsuit

Find out if you’re eligible today.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the primary defect found in some above ground pools?

    The main defect our law firm is investigating involves support bands in certain above ground pools.

    These bands, meant to reinforce the pool’s structure, can be used by children as footholds to climb over the pool walls, leading to unsupervised access and increased drowning risks.

  • Why are support bands in above ground pools considered dangerous?

    Support bands are dangerous because they can unintentionally provide a step-like feature for children.

    This design flaw makes it easier for children, especially those too young to understand the risks, to climb into the pool without adult supervision, significantly increasing the risk of accidents and drownings.

  • Can I file a lawsuit if my child is injured due to this defect in an above ground pool?

    Yes, if your child is injured due to a defective design in an above ground pool, such as the support band flaw, you may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit.

    These cases typically argue that the pool’s design was inherently dangerous and led to the injury.

  • What types of damages are typically sought in lawsuits for above ground pool injuries?

    In lawsuits concerning above ground pool injuries, damages can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and in severe cases, wrongful death compensation.

    The specifics depend on the nature of the injury and the extent of the impact on the child’s and the family’s life.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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