BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                          AB 1784
                                                         Page 1

Date of Hearing: January 17, 1996

                      Grace Napolitano, Chair

       AB 1784 (Speier) - As Introduced:  February 24, 1995


Building Standards:  Swimming Pool Safety


 Existing law:
1)  Makes certain safety and sanitation requirements applicable to  
public swimming pools, including, but not limited to, the  
requirement that every person operating or maintaining a public  
swimming pool must do so in a sanitary, healthful, and safe  
2)  Designates the State Department of Health Services (DHS) as  
having supervision over the above requirements, and requires every  
health officer, within his or her jurisdiction, to enforce  
building standards relating to swimming pools. 

   DHS has adopted regulations governing public swimming pools  
   relating, inter alia, to cleanliness, lifesaving, first aid and  
   safety and   rescue procedures.

3)  Requires a seller of residential property to make disclosures  
prior to the transfer of that property, and sets forth the content  
and form of these disclosures. 
4) Establishes the California Child Day Care Act and defines the  
   term "family day care home."  Swimming pool regulations apply  
   to such homes.

 This bill:
1)  Enacts the Swimming Pool Safety Act to establish certain  
    standards relating to swimming pools.
2)  Requires swimming pools, commencing January 1, 1997, for which  
           construction permits have been issued on or after  
   January 1, 1997 to comply with at least one of the following:  

    a)  The pool shall be isolated from access to a home by a  
fence, wall, or other barrier, as specified.
   b)  The pool shall be equipped with an approved powered safety  
   pool cover. 
   c)  The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms. 


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3)  Defines "swimming pool" to mean any manmade, watertight tank,  
cavity, or other contained body of water, which is wider than  
eight feet at any point 
and contains water more than 18 inches in depth, intended for the  
use of persons in bathing, wading, swimming, water sports, or  
other aquatic activity.  "Swimming pool" means pools that are  
placed both below- and above-ground level. 

4) Defines the terms "exit alarms" and "approved powered safety  
   pool cover."
5)  Defines the term "enclosure" and requires an enclosure to have  
all of the following characteristics: 
    a)  Isolates the swimming pool from the remainder of the  
property on which it is located, and from any children's play  
    b)  Has a minimum height of 60 inches. 
    c)  Has a maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the  
bottom of the enclosure of two inches. 
    d)  Has openings, if any, which do not allow passage of a  
sphere equal to or greater than four inches in diameter. 
    e)  Has an outside surface free of protrusions, cavities, or  
other physical characteristics that would serve as handholds or  
footholds which could enable a child below the age of five years  
to climb over the enclosure. 
    f)  Placed no less than 20 inches from the edge of the  
swimming pool. 
    g)  Except as provided in subdivision (h), has any access  
doors or gates which open away from the swimming pool and are  
self-closing with a self-latching device placed no lower to the  
ground than 60 inches. 
    h)  Where a disabled person resides on the property where the  
swimming pool is located, a key-locking latch may be substituted  
for the self-latching device. 
    i)  Can include a wall of a building which may serve as one  
portion of an enclosure only if the wall contains no doors or  
windows which open to provide access into the pool enclosure. 
6)  Requires any person entering into an agreement to build a  
swimming pool to give the consumer notice of the requirements of  
this bill and provides for criminal penalties for an owner of any  
property which is out of conformity with the provisions of the  
7)  Excludes hot tubs with certain safety covers; public swimming  
pools, as defined; and any pool within the jurisdiction of a  


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political subdivision that adopts an ordinance with more stringent  
requirements, any apartment complex, or residential setting other  
than a single-family home.

8)  Adds to the listing of required disclosures the presence or  
absence of a child-resistant safety fence for a pool, and a  
locking safety cover for a spa or hot tub. 

9)  Requires any family day care home, as defined, that provides  
day care services in a private home that has a swimming pool shall  
meet the swimming pool enclosure requirements as set forth above  
and shall meet all of the following additional requirements when  
engaged in providing day care 

    a)  Tricycles, wagons, bicycles, and other riding toys shall  
not be kept in or allowed to enter the area within the swimming  
pool enclosure, thereby precluding a child from accidentally  
riding the toy into the swimming pool. 
   b)  The following safety equipment shall be kept within the  
   swimming pool enclosure area: 
        1) A ring buoy. 
        2) A shepherd's hook. 
        3) Nonskid decking. 
        4) Posted safety rules. 
   c)  The staff shall receive training in pediatric  
   cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as specified.

    d)  If the swimming pool is used as part of a family day care  
program that is provided in that private home, it is recommended  
that the licensee have, at a minimum, water safety training  
equivalent, as specified.
        The licensee shall be present at the swimming pool when  
       the swimming pool is in use during the family day care  
   e)  Staff-to-child ratios within the swimming pool enclosure  
   shall be as 
        1) One to one for children under 13 months old. 
        2) One to two for children from 13 months to 35 months  
       old, inclusive. 3) One to four for preschool children over  
       35 months old. 
        4) One to six for schoolaged children. 


 Crimes or infractions disclaimer.


1) Purpose:  This bill would require all newly constructed private  


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   swimming pools, both above- and below-ground level, to be 
   enclosed by a fence five feet in height or to have an approved  
   power safety pool cover or exit alarms, as specified.   The  
   bill also sets forth extensive pool safety requirements for  
   family day care homes.
2)  Proponents:  The bill, by its own terms, in its finding and  
declaration sets forth the necessity for its provisions, in  
pertinent part, as follows:

    Drowning kills over 100 young children, or toddlers, in  
California each year.  For every child who dies, four suffer brain  
injury from near drowning incidents.  Advances in medical  
technology are allowing more drowning victims to survive, but they  
are surviving with serious permanent neurological damage. 
   Studies repeatedly show that most toddler drownings take place  
   in backyard swimming pools. The victim's parents usually have  
   taken precautions to protect the child from the pool, but the  
   child gets into the pool during a brief lapse in supervision. 

    One-third of the incidents take place in a relative's or  
friend's pool, and the rest take place at the child's home.   
Toddler drownings in public pools are rare.  Drownings of children  
entering the pool from outside a fence or of children who are  
yard-trespassers are rarer yet. 

   Near drownings result in costly emergency medical responses and  
   stays in intensive care units.  Costs range from two thousand  
   dollars ($2,000) to eighty thousand dollars ($80,000) per  
   patient.  The lifetime cost for care and treatment of a young  
   child who has suffered brain disability due to a near-drowning  
   incident is estimated to be four million five hundred thousand  
   dollars ($4,500,000). Some of these children suffer brain  
   damage.  The State Department of Developmental Services alone  
   presently provides permanent in-patient care to over 70 child  
   near-drowning victims, at an annual cost of one hundred twenty  
   thousand dollars ($120,000) for each child, with a net public  
   cost of over nine million dollars ($9,000,000) a year.  Another  
   295 child near-drowning victims are cared for at home or in  
   community facilities. 

    Experts in the fields of health care and injury prevention  
agree that a fence barrier between the home and pool is the single  
most effective means of preventing accidental drownings. 

3) Opponents:  

    The California Spa and Pool Industry Education Council (SPEC)  
argues that "within-property" fences may actually contribute to  
toddler drownings by creating a false sense of security on the  
part of adults.  Failure to provide total supervision for young  
children results in accidents. 


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   In 1994, proponents of this measure sought permanent  
   regulations from the Building Standards Commission mandating  
   isolation barriers around swimming pools and spas.  The group  
   was successful in obtaining emergency regulations, but the  
   regulations were effectively repealed and were not made  

   SPEC also argues that the findings and declarations in the bill  
   are gross misstatements and are internally conflicting.  The  
   proponents are unable to support their proposal with meaningful  

   The California Building Standards Commission (BSC) opposes this  
   bill because it believes that placing building standards in  
   statute is not good policy.  The BSC notes that building  
   standards located in statute are not accessible to the general  
   public who use them; the design and construction professionals  
   who must use and enforce them.  Secondly, building standards  
   require amendment more frequently than other types of  
   regulations. . .the legislative process for changing a statute  
   is more time consuming than the regulatory process, and is not  
   as simple as the petitioning procedure for regulatory change.

American Academy of Pediatrics
California Children's Hospital Association
California Collaboration for Youth 
California Congress of Parents, Teachers, and Students
California Medical Association
California Public Interest Research Group
California Surf Lifesavings Association-Southwest Region
Consumer Attorney's of California

California Building Standards Commission
California Spa and Pool Industry Education Council 

 Analysis prepared by:  Stephen Holloway / ahcd / 445-2320