The Difficult Facts
Each year, thousands of drownings and near-drowning events occur in the U.S. - swimming pool tragedies that are preventable. In the summer of 2018, there were 148 fatalities due to swimming pools and spas/Jacuzzis. That's from Memorial Day to Labor Day and that statistic only includes those younger than age 15. Mercifully, that statistic is down 9% from 2017. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has studied this problem extensively. Their conclusion about the best way to reduce and hopefully eliminate these incidents:
Pool owners must install and maintain effective barriers to prevent young children from entering the pool area.
Swimming pool barriers requirements for both in-ground and above ground pools should be/have:
- at least 48" high
- free of footholds
- self-closing gates
- free of hand holds
- self-latching gates
- made with small openings:
- horizontal - no wider than 1-3/4"
- vertical - no higher than 4"
- locking devices on all gates
- less than 4" clearance from ground to bottom of
And yet relying on these precautions is not enough.
Here is a sobering video showing the ingenuity of toddlers as they outsmart barriers created for their protection.
Vigilance is required! Parents: Put down cellphones, tablets, and laptops! At all times you should be in the pool with children 5 and younger and have your eyes on children 6 and above.
For further information, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a 32-page brochure available as a PDF: Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer.