A new California law went into effect January 1, 2018 that requires all new or remodeled pools and spas to have increased child safety barriers. The required safety features have increased from one of seven drowning prevention safety features to two. The law does not require existing pools and spas to add these additional protective measures; however, the increased measures will be necessary in instances where they are a part of a home being sold.
The Pool Safety Act was signed October 11, 2017 by Governor Jerry Brown. The Act updates the previous Swimming Safety Act, which was 20 years old. The new California Pool Safety Act declares that:
“According to both the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the State Department of Public Health’s EpiCenter data, drowning is the second leading cause of death for California children one to four years of age, inclusive. EpiCenter data shows that between the years 2010 and 2014 more than 160 children one to four years of age, inclusive, suffered fatal drownings, with a majority of the incidents involving residential pools, and between the years 2010 and 2015 more than 740 children one to four years of age, inclusive, were hospitalized after suffering a near-drowning incident, with the leading cause of hospitalization being brain injury due to lack of oxygen, also known as asphyxiation.
Additional children suffer near-drowning incidents and survive, but many of those children suffer irreversible brain injuries, which can lead to lifelong learning deficiencies that impact not only the affected child and his or her family, but also the resources and money available to California’s health care system, regional centers, and special education school programs. The State Department of Developmental Services reported that as of December 2016 the agency was providing care for more than 755 near-drowning victims with severe brain damage resulting from the near drowning.”
POOL SAFETY ACT REQUIREMENTS
Under the new law, effective January 1, 2018, swimming pools at single-family residences must now have two – up from one – automatic safety devices. The Pool Safety Act, Senate Bill 442 (SB442)1, applies to all newly installed or remodeled pools and/or spas and those involved in a resale. Thus, it applies to any purchases and sales of California homes equipped with a pool or spa. Hot tubs or spas equipped with locked safety covers that comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM F1346) and multi-family units (e.g., apartments and condominium complexes) are exempt.
Prior to 2018, any home with a pool and/or spa was required to have at least one drowning-prevention safety device. Approved devices consist of fencing or an enclosure that isolates the residence from the pool or spa, an approved safety cover, audible exit alarms on the residence doors providing direct access to the pool or spa, self-closing or self-latching device at least 54” above the floor or authorized protection device. The new law increases the minimum number of protective devices at two approved safety devices.
As this is a new law and many homeowners may only have the one safety device in place, it is recommended, for the time being, that Altair Global conduct pool/spa inspections on all homes with a pool or spa with particular attention to identifying the two approved safety devices, ensuring they are included in the Contract of Sale and left with the home when the employee vacates. Because additional information is necessary, our partner, GlobeSpec, anticipates a nominal increase in comprehensive inspections that include a pool and/or spa. The estimate for a standalone pool and/or spa inspection is $195-$250. A small price to pay to save a child.
If you have questions regarding this Altair Global Advisory, please contact your Client Services Director or Business Development representative.
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