The U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission warns that almost 50,000 persons
will require hospital emergency room treatment this year in
accidents associated with some of the nation's four million
Commission staff recommend a number of precautionary measures consumers can take to reduce home pool hazards.
Pool Construction and Maintenance:
- Check local ordinances and codes for safety requirements.
- Use non-slip materials on the pool deck, diving board and ladders.
- The steps of the pool ladder should be at least
three inches wide, and the ladder should have handrails on
both sides small enough for a child to grasp. There should
be a ladder at both ends of the pool.
- Electrical equipment should be installed by a licensed
electrician in accordance with local safety codes. Ground-fault
circuit interrupters are now recommended for pool area
installations. Faulty electrical installations could cause
serous or fatal electric shock.
- Check with a reputable pool contractor to be sure
the depth is sufficient for a diving board or slide. Always
put a slide in a deep area of the pool-- never in shallow
- There should be a fence at least six feet high
around all sides of the pool with a locked gate to keep children
out when there is no supervision and the fence should be
constructed so it is difficult to climb. Lawn furniture, trees
and shrubs should not be close enough to provide an easy boost
over the fence. Avoid using a side of the house as part of the
fence; toddlers have wandered out through an open patio door or
window and drowned.
- Mark water depths conspicuously. Use a safety
float line where the bottom slope deepens.
- Above-ground pools: Install sturdy guard rails
around the pool deck. Look for rolled rims on the metal shell
to be sure the rims do not present a sharp cutting edge if
someone falls. The access ladder to the deck should be sturdy
and without protruding bolts or other sharp edges. The access
ladder should swing up to prevent children from unauthorized
entry or should be easily removable for secure storage away
from the pool area.
- Check the pool and equipment periodically for
cleanliness and good maintenance. Cover all sharp edges and
protruding bolts; repair rickety or broken ladders and railings.
Replace non-slip materials when they wear out.
- Obviously teach children to float or swim as soon as
- Always provide competent adult supervision when
the pool is in use.
- Even adults should never swim alone.
- Caution children against showing off and playing
rough and explain the dangers of running and diving recklessly.
- Never push others into the pool.
- When using water slides, always go feet first.
- Before diving or sliding, check to be sure that
other swimmers are out of the way.
- Keep rescue devices and first aid supplies near
the pool. A floating shepherds crook is useful.
- Teach children what to do in case of emergency.
An alarm bell that could summon help would be a good idea.
- Keep electrical appliances such as radios out of
the pool area because of the hazard of electrical shock.
- Never swim after drinking alcoholic beverages,
eating or taking medications.
To report pool hazards and pool-related injuries, call the toll-free
safety hotline: 1-800-638-2772