Video Layers of Protection

  • Have a properly working physical barrier around, on or in the pool itself (i.e. isolation fence, pool safety cover, pool alarm) that meets code requirements.
  • Have window and door alarms that sound when breached.
  • Always swim at a lifeguarded beach, and pay attention to the beach flags.

Material is adapted and reproduced with permission from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A successful pool barrier prevents a child from getting OVER, UNDER, or THROUGH keeping the child from gaining unintended unsupervised access to the pool.

  • The top of a pool barrier should be at least 48 inches above grade, measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool.
  • Eliminate all handholds and footholds and minimize the size of openings in a barrier's construction.
  • The bottom of the barrier should not exceed 4 inches above grade, when the measurement in done on the side of the barrier facing away from the pool.
  • All openings should be small enough so that a 4-inch diameter sphere can not pass through. This size is based on the head breadth and the chest depth of a young child.
  • Gates should open out from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching. If a gate is properly designed, even if the gate is not completely latched, a young child pushing on the gate in order to enter the pool area will at least close the gate and may actually engage the latch.
  • The release mechanism for the gate should be at least 3 inches below the top of the gate on the side facing the pool.
  • Placing the release mechanism at this height prevents a young child from reaching over the top of a gate and releasing the latch.
  • The gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.

When the house walls form part of the pool barrier, passage through any doors in the house wall should be controlled by security measures:

  • All doors which give access to a swimming pool would be equipped with an audible alarm which sounds when the door and/or screen are opened.
  • Alarm should sound for 30 seconds or more immediately after the door is opened.
  • Alarm should be loud; at least 85 decibels when measured 10 feet away from the alarm mechanism with a distinct sound different from any other sounds in the house.
  • Alarm should have an automatic reset feature.
  • Alarm should have a switch that allows adults to temporarily deactivate the alarm for up to 15 seconds
  • Self-closing doors with self-latching devices could also be used to safeguard doors that give ready access to a swimming pool.

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ABCDs of Water Safety