The definition of pool includes spas and hot tubs. The swimming pool barrier guidelines therefore apply to these structures as well as to conventional swimming pools.
Swimming pools should always be happy places. Unfortunately, each year thousands of American families confront swimming pool tragedies, drowning’s and near drowning’s of young children. These tragedies are preventable.
These are guidelines for pool barriers that can help prevent most submersion incidents involving young children. This is designed for use by owners, purchasers, and builders of residential pools, spas, and hot tubs.
These guidelines are not intended as the sole method to minimize pool drowning of young children, just helpful safety tips for safer pools.
Each year, hundreds of young children die and thousands come close to death due to submersion in residential swimming pools.
CPSC has estimated that each year about 300 children under 5 years old drown in swimming pools. Hospital emergency room treatment is required for more than 2,000 children under 5 years of age who were submerged in residential pools.
CPSC did an extensive study of swimming pool accidents, both fatal drowning’s and near-fatal submersions, in California, Arizona and Florida, states in which home swimming pools are very popular and in use during much of the year.
- In California, Arizona and Florida, drowning was the leading cause of accidental death in and around the home for children under the age of 5 years.
- 75 percent of the children involved in swimming pool submersion or drowning accidents were between 1 and 3 years old.
- Boys between 1 and 3 years old were the most likely victims of fatal drowning’s and near-fatal submersions in residential swimming pools.
- Most of the victims were being supervised by one or both parents when the swimming pool accident occurred.
- Nearly half of the child victims were last seen in the house before the pool accident occurred. In addition, 23 percent of the accident victims were last seen on the porch or patio, or in the yard.
- This means that fully 69 percent of the children who became victims in swimming pool accidents were not expected to be in or at the pool, but were found drowned or submerged in the water.
- 65 percent of the accidents occurred in a pool owned by the victim’s immediate family, and 33 percent of the accidents occurred in pools owned by relatives or friends.
- Fewer than 2 percent of the pool accidents were a result of children trespassing on property where they didn’t live or belong.
- 77 percent of the swimming pool accident victims had been missing for five minutes or less when they were found in the pool drowned or submerged.