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Improving Swimming Pool Safety

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has launched drowning prevention campaign as part of an intensified initiative to prevent the annual drownings of children under the age of 5. Among accidental injuries, drowning has been second only to motor vehicle accidents as leading cause of death to children under age 5. In 2002, an estimated 1,600 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries. Close supervision of young children is vital for families with a home pool. A common scenario is young children leave the house without a parent or caregiver realizing it.

Here are some tips to prevent drownings from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission:

  • Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child’s reach. Keep furniture that could be used for climbing into the pool area away from fences.
  • If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is opened.
  • A powered safety cover (a motor powered barrier that can be placed over the water area) can be used when the pool is not in use.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool and be sure a phone is poolside with emergency numbers posted. Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be a lifesaver.
  • Don’t leave pool toys and floats in the pool area as they may attract young children to the water.
  • For above ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be heard inside the house or other places away from the pool area.
  • To prevent body entrapment and hair entrapment or entanglement, have a qualified pool professional inspect the drain suction fittings and the covers on your pool to be sure that they are the proper size, properly attached, and meet current safety standards. If your pool has a single drain outlet, consider installing a safety vacuum release system that breaks the vacuum to avoid potential entrapment conditions.

* Reference: Consumer Product Safety Commission. Original content can be found at:

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