As the owner of an inground pool, pool safety and preventing accidental drownings is one of your top priorities. It is also a top priority of local and state governments. That’s why there are so many regulations when it comes to inground pools and spas.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) nearly 300 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools each year. Most often, they drown in a pool owned by their own family. And more than 2000 children in that same age group end up in the hospital emergency room each year for submersion injuries.
For many years, pool fence laws have made installing a pool fence the main pool safety requirement across the country. But with the advent of automatic pool covers, some states and municipalities are updating their regulations. While the state of Maryland still requires a pool fence meeting safety specifications, Virginia and Washington DC have adopted the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC).
There are two versions of the code. The 2012 version of the code allows an automatic pool safety cover instead of a pool fence for spas only. The 2015 version of the code allows pool owners to install automatic pool safety covers for their spas and inground pools instead of installing a pool fence.
As of this writing, 11 states have adopted the ISPSC. Eight of those have adopted the most recent 2015 version.
The ISPSC in Maryland
As of this writing, the state of Maryland has not adopted the ISPSC. State law requires a pool fence meeting state specifications for any inground pool. But local municipalities across the country are also adopting the ISPSC. According to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, in Maryland, those include Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, and Montgomery County. The City of Annapolis and Montgomery County have adopted the 2015 code.
Of course, you will always want to check state and local laws for the latest regulations regarding automatic pool safety covers vs pool fence. Remember that installing both provides you with an added level of safety for you and your loved ones.
Your pool contractor can advise you on some of the pool safety regulations specific to where you live. They can also recommend various products to protect you and your family, as well as neighborhood children.