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Garden pools in France risk fines without safety equipment

Fences, alarms and covers are among solutions to tick off the legal requirements

Leaving your pool unsupervised, with no cover or alarm, risks a fine Pic: Ally Foster | Shutterstock

Reader question: We don’t have visiting children and have a detached home with fencing all around. Do we risk a fine for leaving our swimming pool uncovered and without an alarm? Do the Google images used for undeclared works also pick this up?

To answer the last part first – no. Google images are used only for tax checks, not for safety requirements.

The rules are that a pool must have safety equipment to reduce the risk of accidents, particularly among young children. This equipment must include at least one of the following: a physical barrier, an alarm, a pool cover, or a shelter (conservatory type).

Read more: How to keep your swimming pool open despite drought in France

If you have an alarm, it makes sense to use it whenever the uncovered pool is not being used – most are easy to remove or switch off.

Your property fence could be considered a physical barrier, but the guidelines state it should be one metre from the pool, which is somewhat impractical.

A recent case of a toddler who drowned after falling into a neighbour’s uncovered pool shows how easily things can go wrong. The pool owner won a criminal case for not having safety equipment, but it took three more court hearings to eventually be cleared in a civil case where the parents claimed €180,000 in damages.

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