California Bill Aims to Tighten Safety Measures at State-Regulated Swimming Pools

California Bill Aims to Tighten Safety Measures at State-Regulated Swimming Pools

Assemblywoman Gail Pellerin, D-Santa Cruz, in Sacramento on April 27, 2023. (Assemblywoman Pellerin's Office)

Sophie Li
Sophie Li

6/13/2024

Updated: 6/13/2024

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A California bill aims to tighten safety measures for swimming pools at child daycare facilities, to prevent drownings.
Citing a 2023 incident where two infants drowned in a daycare pool in San Jose, Assemblywoman Gail Pellerin has introduced Assembly Bill 2866, which would mandate such facilities regulated by the state follow the same safety standards as other public and private pools and spas.
The bill would also apply to pools at state-regulated senior facilities as well as group homes.
“[This bill] will create a multi-faceted safety requirement to update the existing standards to allow for better drowning prevention standards,” Ms. Pellerin said in an analysis of the bill.
Under the 1996 California Swimming Pool Safety Act, a pool or spa must be equipped with at least two of seven specified drowning prevention safety features to obtain a building permit.
However, certain facilities regulated by the California Department of Social Services—including daycare, some senior facilities, and group homes—are exempt from the current law because that agency already had fencing regulations in place for pools before it was passed.
The new legislation would repeal such exemptions and mandate such facilities not only feature an enclosure or mesh fence to the pool but also a cover or an alarm system that would sound if a person enters accidentally or without authorization.
Ms. Pellerin said adding the pool cover or the alarm would provide added protection in case the fence malfunctions or is disabled.
“This would create a two-step system that in the event of a failure, a secondary safety precaution will be able to prevent a drowning,” the lawmaker said.
The bill would also require facilities to keep a daily log to document the safety measures are in place.
The bill passed the Assembly in May and is currently being heard by the Senate Human Services Committee.
According to an analysis of the bill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies drowning as the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 4 in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths, after motor vehicle crashes, for children aged 5 to 14.
Additionally, the California Department of Public Health reported that over 160 children aged 1 to 4 drowned in residential pools between 2010 and 2014 and that from 2010 to 2015, more than 740 children of the same age group were hospitalized after near-drowning incidents, mainly due to brain injuries caused by oxygen deprivation, according to the health department.
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Sophie Li
Sophie Li
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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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