Near drownings highlight importance of pool fences

Law requires new pools be fenced in

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Recent near drownings in southern Palm Beach County are a harsh reminder that there are laws in place designed to protect your kids. Every pool built in Florida since March of 2002 is required by law to be enclosed with a fence, or covered with material a child can stand on.

A common misconception is that you only need an enclosed fence if you have young children in your home. Code enforcement officials say that's not the case.

"It's still protection for other children in the neighborhood. If you have people coming over, guests, it's still a protection," says Doug Sheedy, a code enforcement officer with the city of Boca Raton.

If your pool was built before 2002, you still need a fence, but only around the edge of your property. Either way, you need a secure gate that can close on its own to prevent children from wandering in.

"It's a layer of protection, peace of mind. The same reason why you put your child in a car seat. You may never need it, but if you do just once, you're glad you had it," says Ivar Blosfelds, who installs pool fences with Kinderguard.

Code enforcement officers say complaints usually lead them to those who don't comply. A warning is issued first, then a citation can be given.

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