June 25, 2002
Consumer Product Safety Commission
BACKYARD POOL: Always Supervise Children, Safety Commission Warns
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 350
children under five years of age drown each year in swimming pools, many in
residential pools. The Commission estimates that another 2,600 children
under age five are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year following
submersion incidents. Some of these submersions result in permanent brain
Nationally, drowning is a leading cause of death to children under five.
The key to preventing these tragedies is to have layers of protection. This
includes placing barriers around your pool to prevent access, using pool
alarms, closely supervising your child and being prepared in case of an
emergency. CPSC offers these tips to prevent drowning:
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.
If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading
from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a
sound when a door is unexpectedly opened.
A power 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 portable phone is poolside
with emergency numbers posted. Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
can be a lifesaver.
For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and
locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in
preventing death or disability.
Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Underwater pool alarms
generally perform better and can be used in conjunction with pool covers.
CPSC advises that consumers use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be
heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area.
PARENTS AND GUARDIANS: ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT A DROWNING. WATCH YOUR CHILD
CLOSELY AT ALL TIMES. MAKE SURE DOORS LEADING TO THE POOL AREA ARE CLOSED
AND LOCKED. YOUNG CHILDREN CAN QUICKLY SLIP AWAY AND INTO THE POOL.
THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION CAUTIONS DIVERS ABOUT IMPROPER DIVING
Diving injuries can result in quadriplegia, paralysis below the neck, to
divers who hit the bottom or side of a swimming pool, according to CPSC.
Divers should observe the following precautions:
Never dive into above-ground pools. They are too shallow.
Don't dive from the side of an in-ground pool. Enter the water feet first.
Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides.
Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon
entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool.
Don't dive if you have been using alcohol or drugs because your reaction
time may be too slow.
Improper use of pool slides presents the same danger as improper diving
techniques. Never slide down head first - slide down feet first only.