Written By: Laura Kujubu, Consumer Connection Staff
All new construction and remodels now must have at least two ways to prevent drownings
The state’s 20-year-old Swimming Pool Safety Act has doubled its safety requirements.
Since 1998, California has required new or remodeled residential pools and spas to have at least one safety feature, such as a fence or an alarm. Senate Bill 442 (Newman, Chapter 670, Statutes of 2017) takes the Swimming Pool Safety Act a step further: Effective Jan. 1, California law began requiring two safety measures:
When a building permit is issued for the construction or remodeling of a swimming pool or spa at a private single-family home, it must be equipped with at least two of these seven drowning-prevention measures:
- An enclosure that isolates the swimming pool or spa from the home.
- Removable mesh fencing, along with a self-closing and self-latching gate that can accommodate a key-lockable device.
- An approved safety pool cover.
- Exit alarms on the home’s doors that provide direct access to the pool or spa.
- A self-closing, self-latching device on the home’s doors that provide direct access to the pool or spa.
- An alarm that will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the pool or spa water.
- Other means of protection that meet or exceed the degree of protection of the previous features mentioned.
In addition, the updated Swimming Pool Safety Act states that when a home is sold, an inspector must specify in their report which two safety devices were implemented. For detailed information regarding SB 442’s safety requirements, visit the California Legislative Information website at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov and use the search function to find the bill.
SB 442 does not apply to public swimming pools, hot tubs, or spas with locking safety covers that comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials, and an apartment complex or residential setting other than a single-family home.
“When the families of victims came to me with ways to improve the outdated Swimming Pool Safety Act, and thereby prevent others from experiencing the tragedies they had endured through the drowning or near-drowning of a child, I was moved to act,” the author of SB 442, Sen. Josh Newman, said in a news release. “Residential pool drownings can be prevented, and SB 442 will go far toward reducing the pain and costs associated with pool drownings.”
According to the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), drowning is a leading cause of death for children under 5 years old. Also, a child who does survive a drowning incident can be left with permanent brain damage. DDS provides lifelong support services to 755 survivors of near-drowning accidents.
To learn more about drowning prevention, visit the Department of Developmental Services’ website at www.dds.ca.gov/drowning.
Reprinted from Consumer Connection Magazine – Spring 2018 “The Next Wave: New Law Strengthens Pool Safety Standards.” To read the latest issue of Consumer Connection Magazine, click here.