Barriers Around Water

Install multiple barriers around all water sources (pool, spa, hot tub, etc.) to restrict access to the water source when an adult is not present.

The Basics

  • Residential (home) swimming pools are the most common sites of drowning for children ages 1-4. (CDC)
  • Pools and spas should have 4-sided isolation fencing at least four feet in height, with self-closing and self-latching gates. Isolation fencing completely surrounds a pool, isolating it from the home, yard, and adjacent properties. Isolation fencing does NOT use the home as a barrier.
  • Learn the basics of residential pool and spa safety: Pool Safety for Residential Pool and Spa Owners, (Pool Safely), and Safety Guidelines for Home Pools. (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors)
  • Remember, NOTHING substitutes for Constant Visual Supervision by an adult. However, securing every pool, hot tub, and spa with a proper barrier offers an additional layer of protection.

Action Items


Dive Deeper

Barriers

  • Many states and communities have established pool barrier codes based on standards developed by the CPSC. Check with your state or local government to ensure compliance with any laws pertaining to fencing around pools, hot tubs, or spas. Become familiar with your code: Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools. (CSPS)
  • Increase pool, hot tub, and spa safety by constructing 4-sided isolation fencing at least four feet in height. Isolation fencing completely surrounds a pool, isolating it from the home, yard, and adjacent properties. Isolation fencing does NOT use the home as a barrier.
  • Choose self-closing and self-latching gates. Young children should NOT be able to reach gate latches.
  • Install locks on any doors and gates leading to an indoor or outdoor pool, hot tub, or spa.
  • Lockable safety covers. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions with care to guarantee installation, operation, and maintenance without injury: Safety Covers. (Pool Safely)
  • Alarm doors, gates, windows and pools/spas: Alarms (Pool Safely), and Pool Alarms. (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors)

Above-Ground Pools

  • A portable or inflatable above-ground pool presents an additional risk. Due to the flexibility of the component material, the sides of the pool can easily collapse. Anyone can fall into the pool and drown.
  • If you own an above-ground pool, secure or remove its ladder when the pool is not in use: Portable Pool Safety. (CPSC)

Seasonal Concerns

  • Practice water safety throughout the year.
  • Ponds, pools, and streams may freeze in winter, giving water a smooth, glassy appearance attractive to curious children. Always lock houses, doors, and pool gates to avoid accidents on the ice.
  • Water can collect on top of pool covers. Children can drown in the standing water. Check your cover regularly, after a rain, and remove any standing water.

Safety Inspections

  • Establishing the safety of a residential pool or spa begins with an inspection by a trained and experienced inspector. Pool and spa inspectors evaluate water quality, safety devices, and the physical condition of the facility. Contact your state or local health department to find a qualified engineer or pool and spa safety inspector: State or Territorial Health Departments. (CDC)

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First-Hand Stories

Samira and JJ Riggsbee
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