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The Legal Requirements of Pool Owners in Arizona

Every year in Arizona, too many children are victims to drowning or near drowning. In an effort to try to reduce the number of injuries or deaths, the Arizona State Legislature passed A.R.S. § 36-1681 requiring pool owners to implement certain safety measures in their home where one or more children under six years of age live. This is especially important for those who rent out their home.

According to A.R.S. § 36-1681, a swimming pool must be protected by an enclosure – a wall, fence or barrier – that surrounds the pool area. Unless a local code provides otherwise, the enclosure of a belowground or aboveground pool must:

– Entirely close the pool area

– Be at least 5 feet high

– Have no opening other than doors or gates, through which an object 4 inches in diameter can pass

– Have no openings, handholds, or footholds accessible from the exterior side that can be used to climb the barrier

– Be at least 20 inches away from the water’s edge

If you have a gate in the 5-foot-tall wall, fence, or barrier enclosing a pool, the gate must:

– Open outward from the pool

– Be self-closing and self-latching

– Have a latch: (1) located at least 54 inches above the underlying ground, (2) located on the pool side of the gate with the latch’s release mechanism at least 5 inches below the top of the gate and no opening greater than ½ inch with 24 inches of the release mechanism, and (3) located at any height if secured by a padlock or similar device which requires a key, electric opener, or integral combination

These requirements do not apply to the following:

– A system of sumps, irrigation canals, irrigation, flood control or drainage works constructed or operated for the purpose of storing, delivering, distributing or conveying water.

– Stock ponds, storage tanks, livestock operations, livestock watering troughs or other structures used in normal agricultural practices.

– Public or semi-public swimming pools.

– A swimming pool or contained body of water or barrier constructed prior to the effective date of this article.

– Political subdivisions which enact a swimming pool barrier ordinance before the effective date of this article.

– Political subdivisions which adopt ordinances after the effective date of this article provided that the ordinance is equal to or more stringent than the provisions of this article.

– A residence in which all residents are at least six years of age.

If you’d like to read A.R.S. § 36-1681 in its entirety, click here.

These requirements are great in helping to prevent drowning accidents from happening, but it’s not enough. The responsibility lies with the adults watching a child. You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s no exaggeration: leaving a child alone for even two seconds is too long. Looking away for two seconds is too long. Most drowning cases are the result of lack of supervision. Don’t risk it. Make sure your pool has the above safety requirements and never take your eyes off your children. Learn more by speaking to a children’s injury attorney about child safety in public areas and who is responsible.

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