Pool Safety

The following information is provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

CPSC Warns Drowning Dangers Do Not End with Pool Season

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Cooler weather in most of the country means swimming pools have closed for the season, but parents and caregivers should know that other drowning dangers still exist in and around the home. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning that children need to be supervised around the home and protected from these potentially hidden drowning hazards.

“Parents of young children can never let their guard down when it comes to water,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “They need to be aware that bathtubs, buckets, and other containers in and around the home pose drowning hazards all year long.”

Though an average of about 280 children younger than 5 years old drown in swimming pools each year, an average of about 150 additional children also drown at home in bathtubs, hot tubs and spas, buckets, toilets, trash cans, landscape or fish ponds and decorative fountains.

After pools, more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in and around the home. For 2002 (the most recent year of complete data), CPSC has reports of 69 children younger than 5 who drowned in bathtubs. More than 80 percent were younger than 2 years old – 33 children were younger than 1 year old, and 23 children were between 1 and 2 years old.

Most bathtub drowning cases involved a child left unattended in the tub. In at least 27 of the 69 incidents, another child was also in the tub. In one incident, the victim and a sibling were placed in the tub without water while the mother left the home. It is believed the sibling turned on the water and the victim drowned.

In six of the bathtub incident reports, children were left to play in a tub with the water running and the drain left open. The parent or caregiver assumed the open drain would prevent the bathtub from filling up and left the bathroom. When they returned, the drain was closed or clogged, the water had filled the bathtub, and the child was submerged.

For 2002, CPSC is also aware of nine drowning deaths to children younger than 5 involving spas or hot tubs, six deaths involving 5-gallon and other-sized buckets, four deaths in wading pools, two deaths in toilets, two deaths in outdoor fish or landscape ponds, two deaths in fountains, one death in a plastic trash can, and one death in a 16-inch tall water barrel.

Home Drowning Prevention Tips include:

To get a free copy of the Prevent Child In-Home Drowning Death publication, email CPSC at publications@cpsc.gov or call our Hotline at (800) 638-2772.

movie iconConsumers can also view a video clip about in-home child drowning dangers (transcript). This is in "streaming video" format.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

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CPSC Urges Pool Owners to Take Precautions to Prevent Drownings More than 375 children under 5 years old drown in pools each year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Around much of the nation, Memorial Day weekend signals the time to open the family pool for the summer. Pool owners, especially those with young children and grandchildren, should always keep in mind the deadly hazards a pool can pose. A young child can drown quickly and silently, often without any splashing or screaming. It can happen in just the few minutes it takes to answer the telephone.

More than 375 children under 5 years old drown in pools each year nationwide -- most in residential pools. Drowning ranks as the leading cause of death to young children in several sunbelt states. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds pool owners there are steps they can take to avoid these drownings.

"There is nothing worse than the death of a child. CPSC is urging pool owners to take the necessary precautions to prevent more of these drownings," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "The keys to preventing these tragedies are placing barriers around your pool, closely supervising your child and being prepared in case of an emergency."

Physical barriers designed to limit access to pools provide an important layer of security. Effective barriers include fences or walls, and power safety covers over pools.

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 for the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce an audible 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 as an alternative to door alarms.

For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.

"Barriers are not foolproof protection from drowning," Brown said. "Supervision also is key to prevention, especially with toddlers. Because their capabilities change everyday, toddlers often do the unexpected, like opening closed pool gates they previously could not open."

Flotation devices are never to be used as a substitute for supervision, and knowing how to swim doesn't make a child drownproof. Watch children closely while they are in the pool.

If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Keep rescue equipment by the pool, and be sure a phone is poolside with emergency numbers posted.

Parents and other caregivers, such as grandparents, babysitters and older siblings, who know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can greatly improve a drowning victim's chances for survival.

CPSC offers three free publications consumers can use to help prevent child drowning: "Safety Barrier Guidelines for Pools," "How to Plan for the Unexpected" and "Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer." Some localities have incorporated the CPSC guidelines into their building codes and regulations.

Copies of these publications can be obtained here on CPSC's website, or by writing to "Pool Safety", CPSC, Washington, D.C., 20207. Information on ordering these publications is also available by calling the CPSC Hotline, (800) 638-2772.
 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

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