The Swimming Pool Latch

Child-Proof Pool Latches: What You Should Know

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

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

Childproof Pool Latch requirements

According to the National Building Officials and Code Administrators Standards and Regulations (otherwise known as BOCA), all pool fence latches must be at least 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 open away from the pool.

The fence itself should not be easily climbed. Any horizontal members should be on the pool side of the fence, and all vertical pieces should be no more than 1.75 inches apart. Pool fences with chain link mesh should not have diamonds that exceed 1.25 inches.

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

Top Pull Rods

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

Key lock/latch features

Some features a childproof pool latch may include:

  • Key locking feature
  • Sound alarm and flashing lights
  • Red light to indicate if not latched
  • Magnetic closure
  • Easy installation
  • Compatibility with many fencing materials


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

Order your gate latches from American Fence in Sioux Falls, SD today.