California and Swimming Pools – Is yours safe?

One of the joys of living in California is hot weather. The California heat encourages us to get in a bathing suit and take a dip at least four of the twelve months of the year.  It’s no wonder that with temperatures soaring to over 100 degrees, California is one of the leading states of the installation of residential swimming pools.

Often, when the heat hits, all we can think of is cooling off. Safety and preventing injuries can be the farthest thing in mind when we jump in the pool.  However, the Centers for Disease and Protection (CDC) states that the leading cause for injury death in children (ages 1-4) is drowning. The grim statistics reveal that every day approximately three children will die from an accidental drowning.

Therefore, a quick review of the California Swimming Pool Safety Act may be useful. Some of the requirements for pool safety in California are summarized below:

a) The pool should have installed a ‘removable mesh pool fencing that…is self-closing and self-latching’ and that includes a key lockable device.

b) The pool should  be equipped with a safety pool cover.

c) The residence should be equipped with exit alarms on all doors accessing the pool area.

d) The pool should be equipped with a swimming pool alarm.

Pool owners who have had their pools installed prior to January 2007 should review the above checklist.  Pool (and or spas) built or remodeled after January 2007 will need to be inspected by a local building code official before final approval of the project is given.  California pool owners looking to remodel their pool should keep reference this checklist and/or the California Safety Act itself to purchase the necessary items prior to their final inspection date and will want to factor this cost in to their remodeling budget.

It should be noted that many of the required items are relatively inexpensive to purchase.  A pool alarm can be purchased for less than $100.  The exit alarms can be purchased for less than $30 a door.

Other helpful tips for pool owners who have small children include enrolling their children swimming lessons at an early age.  Even if the children have taken swimming lessons it would be wise to require the use of life jackets by small children.  Homeowners who do not have children should nonetheless purchase life jackets for the children of their guests who come over.  It is also essential to ‘stand watch’ when children are in the pool.  It is also useful for parents to have the basics of swimming down in order for them to be able to help their kids in the case of an emergency.  Learning CPR can also be useful.

Life is unpredictable and at times deaths due to drowning occur. The drowning likely occurred due to failure to supervise,  defective construction of the pool or because of inadequate pool maintenance.   The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can provide free legal advice on pool and drowning issues and can represent you in such claims.

Ed Smith is a Sacramento Attorney.  Our primary website is but we specialize in handling all forms of personal injury claims including wrongful death resulting from drowning. If you or someone you love has been in a drowning or near drowning incident, call me, Ed Smith,  now at 916-921-6400.   Please learn more about me and my staff by looking at our listings on Yelp or on Avvo.

Image Attribution: By user “brokenchopstick” [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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