||The kinds of
barriers Brown has in mind are fences or walls and power safety
covers for pools. The fences or walls should be 4-feet high and
completely around the pool. Fence gates or latches should be
self-closing, and shouldn't be within the reach of a small
The CPSC says that if your home forms one of the wall
barriers, then doors leading to the pool area should be
protected by alarms. In all cases, steps and ladders leading to
the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when not in
The power safety cover is a motor-powered barrier than can be
used instead of door alarms.
Even with all the obstacles, the CPSC says nothing prevents
pool tragedies better than adult supervision.
"Barriers are not foolproof protection from accidental
drowning," says Brown. "Because their capabilities change every
day, toddlers often do the unexpected, like opening closed pool
gates they previously could not open." The CPSC says parents
should not leave a child in a pool unsupervised, even if the
youngster is wearing a floatation device and knows how to swim.
If you have a pool, and you can't find your youngster, look
in the pool first - no matter how secure it is. If, by any
chance, the child has found his or her way into the water, the
seconds saved by looking there first could mean the difference
between life and death. The CPSC recommends that some form of
life saving equipment be located near the pool - including a
phone to call a doctor or ambulance. Helping chances of survival
is the knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, by an
adult or teen.
For more information on pool safety, you can look at one of
three CPSC publications - "Safety Barrier Guidelines for
Pools," "How to Plan for the Unexpected," and "Guidelines for
Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer." - on
its Web site at
http://www.cpsc.gov. You can also get the publications by
calling (800) 638-2772 or writing to Pool Safety, CPSC,
Washington, DC 20207.