Please explain French pool safety legislation
After the child of a French government minister was drowned in an unprotected pool a few years ago the ‘ Raffarin Law’ was introduced to improve the safety of unattended pools. The numbers after the points below refer to the French safety standards relevant to that method of protection.
HL Holidays property information will usually identify which protection is installed around the pool of each property. However, whilst the law insists on provision of these safety measures, it also imposes a duty of care and supervision on responsible adults.
It is a legal requirement for non-public swimming pools to be protected in at least one of the following ways:
Fenced Enclosure (NF P90-306)
The pool must be completely surrounded by a fence at least 1.1m high, with gates that preferably have a two handed mechanism that a child will be unable to operate, but that an adult can easily operate.
Hard Pool Cover (NF P90-308)
A floating cover which should be in place whenever the pool is not in use which can bear the weight of 100kg without any failure of the cover or fixings. The control system must be childproof, and inaccessible to young children
Often these covers will be motorised: It is a part of the legislation that the cover is clipped into place when fitted. These clips MUST be undone before the cover is removed.
These covers are quite separate from the soft ‘bubble wrap’ type covers which are merely to preserve heat and to minimise debris falling into the water.
Surface motion detector alarm (NF P90-307)
As they are quick to install, and have the least aesthetic effect pool alarms are very common, but they are equally simple to abuse and ignore.
Generally they consist of a small poolside box with a tube into the water that detects surface disturbance, and sound an alarm when disturbance is detected.
The alarm is deactivated before swimming, usually by tapping a code into the unit, and the unit should reset a specified time after it last detects surface disturbance from swimmers, so as part of the house instructions there should be information on the codes necessary for deactivating the alarm and reactivating it if necessary.
A problem can arise in breezy conditions where the pool is in a fairly open situation: This may cause the alarm to go off involuntarily. There is a temptation to remove the alarm from the pool or remove the batteries, but this is done at your peril should any accident occur as the result of your action.
Pool Shelter (abri) (NF P90-309)
This is a sliding cover over the pool which has the advantage of being like a greenhouse, and can considerably extend the swimming season.
The cost of installation and effort required to open them restricts their popularity with pools of any size.
Raised Pool construction
Pools built above ground are exempt from the law, and are considered safe. However, steps up into the pool should be removable
French law however does place emphasis on common sense and supervision, and at all times responsible adults should supervise young children in and around swimming pools.
Particularly with the alarm systems, you should test the security on arrival and if in any doubt inform the Property Manager and HL Holidays if you have any concerns.
We hope this article helps you understand how to enjoy the swimming pool at your chosen property safely: A further article HERE discusses the basic maintenance that Guests may be asked to carry out on the swimming pool, and explains features you may encounter.
Please contact HL Holidays/France for Families if you need any further help or information on swimming pools