Private swimming pools in France must have these safety features

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

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).

Installations must meet certain safety regulations. They can be installed by any equipment seller or contractor, and getting a professional to install them means they will already know what criteria must be met.

They will also provide you with a safety brief for the equipment.

You can read a full list of the requirements here on the official Service Public website in English.

If you do not install this equipment, you risk a fine of up to €45,000.

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.

Read more: How to wake up your swimming pool when temperatures get warmer