Every year, thousands of American families suffer swimming pool tragedies—drownings and near-drownings of young children. The majority of deaths and injuries in pools and spas involve young children ages 1 to 3 and occur in residential settings. However, this cloud does have a silver lining: these tragedies are preventable.
Getting to the Bottom of the Problem
Many of the nearly 300 children under the age of 5 who drown each year in residential pools could be saved if homeowners completely fenced in pools and installed self-closing and self-latching devices on gates. Anyone who has cared for a toddler knows how fast young children can move. Toddlers are inquisitive and impulsive and lack a realistic sense of danger. These behaviors make swimming pools particularly hazardous for households with young children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that child drownings are the second leading cause of accidental death around the home for children under 5 years of age. CPSC staff has concluded that the best way to reduce child drownings in residential pools is for pool owners to construct and maintain barriers that’ll help to prevent young children from gaining access to pools and spas.
Keep Them Safe by Keeping Them Out
An outdoor swimming pool barrier is a physical obstacle that surrounds a pool or spa so that access to the water is limited to only adults. A successful pool barrier prevents a child from getting over, under or through it to gain access to the pool or spa. Barriers commonly include a fence, a wall, a building wall, or any combination thereof. The barrier must be at least 4 feet high, and must satisfy the following requirements:
- The barrier must completely surround the swimming pool and must obstruct access to the swimming pool.
- The space between the bottom of the barrier and the ground cannot exceed 2 inches.
- In the case of an aboveground pool, the barrier may be at ground level or mounted on top of the pool structure. If the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the space between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier cannot exceed 4 inches.
- Any opening in the barrier must be small enough to prevent the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere through the opening.
Barriers are not childproof, but they provide layers of protection for a child when there is a lapse in adult supervision. Barriers give parents additional time to find a child before the unexpected can occur. Drownings are a preventable cause of death and injury for children. By putting proven safety behaviors and systems into practice, you and your family will be much more secure in and around your pool. We encourage you to let the pool code experts at Northeastern Fences make sure your pool fencing is up to local and state codes. We know our stuff and can provide you with beautiful, durable and reliable fencing. Have questions or want to set up your appointment today? Give us a call at 518-767-9316 or stop by and see our showroom. We look forward to working with you!