The swimming pool law in France states that all new swimming pools built since the first of, January 2004 and all swimming pools for private rental, must conform. For the remainder, standardised security must be in place by January 2006, i.e all swimming pools must now have security conforming to AFNOR standards.
The reasoning behind this law is that most swimming pool accidents have been shown to happen to the under 5’s. Most are fatal. A small child can drown in as little as 3 minutes.
Often, even if they can swim, the shock of falling in, is enough to panic the child, resulting in drowning. They do not shout out for help. They do not have the strength to stay afloat for long, even if they can swim.
This swimming pool safety law has been enforced to help prevent such fatalities, and should be enforced along with vigilant parental/adult supervision at all times.
The swimming pool law in France was passed in December 2002, however standards were a little longer before being released.
Now, all is in place and there are many products on the market conforming to the AFNOR standards.
The penalty for breaking the law i.e. Not having security protection conforming to AFNOR standards, is 45,000 Euros.
There are a variety of options available, the swimming pool law in France requires that one of the following is installed :-
– Fencing must comply to NF P90-306.
– It must be a minimum of 1 metre in height.
– The lock must be childproof and have a 2 action movement.
– There must be no ledges or footholds for a child to climb up.
– A building wall may be considered suitable as part of the fencing – e.g. side of barn.
– Fencing should be positioned a minimum of 1 metre from the pool edge – no maximum is indicated, however the law states that the fencing must be around the pool area.
– Fencing around the whole premises is not acceptable.
– If you wish to fence close to a perimeter fence, there must be an arc of 1.2m before contact with the perimeter fence i.e. to prevent someone clambering onto perimeter fencing and over
pool fencing. Prices for safety fencing vary, there are now many conforming to AFNOR standards.
Swimming pool alarms must comply to NF P90-307. These are often the cheapest option – but are only as effective as your response time. Which raises the question – If you are not
present and a neighbours child falls in, who will respond, bearing in mind that you have the ultimate responsibility as pool owner. Pool alarms will detect when someone or something has fallen into, or entered a specific area of the pool. The alarm often has to be turned off for swimming – which necessitates someone remembering to put it back/turn it on once swimming is finished. Pool alarms only detect when someone has fallen in, they do not prevent someone falling in.
Safety covers must comply to NF P90-308. Safety covers cover the whole pool or the pool and pool edge. They must be strong enough to take the weight of an adult.
Safety covers will state they are reinforced for safety purposes, some can be used as heat retention and for overwintering.
Separate summer and overwintering covers are NOT the same thing and have already been the cause of a fatality in France. Covers only provide security if the state the conform to theAFNOR standards and hence, the swimming pool law in France. Separate Summer and winter covers are entirely different, summer covers provide heat retention, winter covers
prevent overwinter debris and provide protection to the pool, not to people.
Safety covers are applied with manual roller or by automation, often increasing costs.
Shelters must comply to NF P90-309 Shelters come in a variety of styles. They can be fixed or removable. They must be locked when swimming has concluded. It is advisable to check if planning permission is needed for a fixed structure. Shelters are usually expensive.