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The Raffarin Law
In December 2002 the French parliament pass the "Raffarin Law" with the objective of preventing people (especially children) from drowning in privately owned swimming pools. The idea was to introduce additional safety measures to supplement proper adult supervision.
The law applies to all outdoor "in ground" pools. Pools built above the ground or indoor pools are exempt from the new regulations. The regulations are applicable now for all new swimming pool installations and for all rental properties from 1st May 2004. All in ground swimming pools must comply by 1st January 2006.
There was a great deal on initial confusion about what types of security systems were required even when some trial standards were published. Some French home owners have gone ahead and installed pool fences on the assumption that the trial standards would become the agreed standard. Others have "sat on the fence" so to speak but now is the time for action.
We now understand that swimming pools should be protected by one (or more) of the following additional safety features.
A safety barrier or fence meeting standard NF P90-306
A reinforced safety cover meeting standard NF P90-308
A pool enclosure or shelter meeting standard NF P90-309
A Pool alarm meeting standard NF P90-307
The law only requires one of these measures but it must be effectively applied. An alarm system that can't be heard from all parts of the house would be deemed ineffective even if the poolside installation itself met the defined standard.
The penalty for non-compliance is set at €45,000. The penalties arising in the event of a tragic drowning after failing to meet these regulations are likely to be severe.

Never leave a child unattended.

Our Advice:
None of the additional safety measures specified by the new law are a substitute for proper supervision and the sensible use of any swimming pool.
If you are installing a new swimming pool then your supplier should be able to advise you on the alternate options suitable for your particular circumstances. If you have an existing swimming pool and intend to let your property out to others (even friends and relatives) then you should contact a suitable qualified supplier and bring your pool up to standard.
It is likely that, in the near future, planning requirements for a new swimming pool installations will require details of how the new pool will comply with these regulations.
Some Additional Notes
As with any new law and evolving regulations then there is no substitute for the advice of a qualified professional installer. However we have put together some short notes on the different types of swimming pool safety precautions required under the new swimming pool laws here in France.

Above Ground Pools
Above ground pools have an "in built" safety feature as the sides of the pool form an effective fence or barrier. However if pool steps are left in place when the pool is not in use then they can be very attractive to even the smallest mobile child. Please remove above ground pool steps or otherwise make then inaccessible to children when the pool is not being supervised.

The Letter of the Law
The law itself is (like many such laws) fairly short and succinct - the detail is in the regulations that are evolved to implement the law. These may well be subject to change over time.
 
Barrier

Qick installation
Multi-access
Economical
Transparent barrier

Aesthetic
Discrete
Resistant
Pool alarm

Prevention
Discrete
Adaptable
Automatic cover

Multi-usage
Aesthetic
Motorised
Reinforced cover

Multi-usage
Easy install
Motorisable
Shelter

Practical
Resistant
Preventiv
Rule: Never leave a child unattended.