Child-Proof Pool Latches: What You Should Know

Above cooling off and having fun, safety is the most important factor when it comes to swimming pools. Children of all ages adore swimming, but unfortunately the second leading cause of death for kids under the age of 5 is drowning.

Most of the child drownings occur in a family's, friends's or realative's swimming pool. These pools are more accessible and less supervised, making drownings all too common. One of the most effective ways to prevent these child drownings is a fence around the pool with a secure, childproof latch.

Requirements of a Childproof Pool Latch

According to the National Building Officials and Code Administrators Standards and Regulations (commonly known as BOCA), all pool fence latches must be at a minimum of 54 inches from the ground, keeping them well out of the reach of curious children. These latches should also be self-locking and corresponding pool gates should have self-closing hinges that will open away from the pool.

The fence itself should be difficult to climb over. Any horizontal cross members should be on the pool side of the fence, and all vertical pieces should not be spaced more that 1.75 inches apart. Pool fences with chain link fabric should not have diamonds that exceed 1.25 inches.

Check into your local pool fence code for any variations in your area.

Top Pull Rods

The safest and most child-proof pool gate latch is a top pull rod. The top pull rod's design consists of a pull rod and a latch. The latch is placed near the top of the door and frame gate. The pull rod arm extends usually at a minimum of a foot above the top of the gate, out of a child's reach. In order to unlock it, you would have to pull up on the knob on the pull rod, relieiving the latch.

Key Latch Features

Some features of a childproof pool latch may also include:

  • Secure key locking feature
  • Flashing lights and a sounding alarm
  • Red light that will indicate if not latched
  • Magnetic security closure
  • Easy to install
  • Compatibility with many fence types and materials


Since most child drownings happen at unsupervised or residential pools, those are the pools we most highly recommend customers install these type of pool latches. Other locations that could benefit from a pool fence with a childproof latch are places such as spas, daycares, hot tubs and schools.

You can order your gate latches from America’s Fence Store today.