Frequently Asked questions
Do drownings and injuries occur because parents are neglectful and are not supervising their children?
No. Most injuries happen when at least one adult is at home. The adult usually assumes the child is safely away from the pool in the home. When two adults are present, each person believes the other is supervising the child. Once the parent realizes the child is missing, the last place searched is the pool.
Won’t early swimming instruction prevent drowning or near drowning?
No. Most water safety experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross recommend that swimming instruction should start in the 4- to 5-year old age group. Earlier instruction is poorly retained. Toddlers don’t reason well enough to respond to an emergency. These toddlers don’t understand the dangers of deep water any more than they recognize the dangers of an unprotected stairway or open window
Swimming instruction is not a substitute for safety barriers.
Why should homes without children be required to install fencing or other safety barriers?
There are very few households where children never visit. These adults are not prepared for the constant challenge that young children place on their surroundings – such as climbing, pushing and testing. Also, it is not possible to supervise children every second, so extra safety measures are essential. For example, you can use safety fencing, separating the home and the pool, alarm devices alerting the adult about children leaving the home or self-closing and self-latching sliding doors, gates or safety pool covers.
Established safety standards must be implemented in order to protect everyone.
Do safety measures work?
Yes, there have been many studies done that evaluated the effectiveness of safety fencing. The results show a 50% to 80% reduction in injuries.
Most fencing and other safety barriers are expected to work best on children 4 years old and younger.
Unfortunately, virtually all fatal drownings and non-fatal drownings occur because there is easy access directly from the family home to the family pool, so peripheral yard fencing is inadequate to protect the young child at risk for drowning.
The Pool Barrier Law
In the fall of 1996, the Governor signed legislation that went into effect, requiring increased standards for every community in California. It requires that one of these choices be implemented for any new pool 18 inches deep or more constructed after January 1, 1997:
- 60-inch tall fences separating the home and pool;
- Alarm devices alerting the pool owner of passage through doors leading to the pool; or
- Manual or automatic pool covers.
Each one of these options must meet certain minimum standards described in the Assembly Bill 3305.