U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

May 25, 2004
Release # 04-142  
CPSC Consumer Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: Eric Criss, (301) 504-7908  

CPSC Warns about Pool Hazards, Reports 250 Deaths of Young Children Annually:
Federal Agency Launches Drowning Prevention Initiative, Holding Public Hearings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today is launching a drowning prevention campaign as part of an intensified initiative
to prevent the tragic drowning of 250 children under the age of 5 annually in swimming pools. Among unintentional injuries, drowning has been the second leading
cause of death to children under age 5, after motor vehicle incidents. In 2002, an estimated 1,600 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion
injuries. Many of these deaths and injuries occur in residential pools.

“That so many young children drown each year is devastating,” said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. “Each of these deaths is not only the pointless end of a promising
life, but an overwhelming grief for the family that goes on for years and years. As a father, I cannot imagine having to endure the pain of such a loss.”

Reducing the rate of drowning deaths is one of CPSC’s strategic goals. To help achieve this goal, CPSC is holding two public hearings to explore strategies to
prevent drowning deaths. The first public hearing will take place in Tampa, Fla., on June 21, 2004, and the second hearing will be in Phoenix, Ariz. on July 27, 2004.
“We want to find new solutions and try to create new awareness about this hazard,” Stratton said.

Additionally, CPSC is broadcasting a video news release nationwide to promote pool safety, CPSC field staff is participating in local pool safety events, and the
agency is promoting drowning prevention on its Web site at
One of the most tragic aspects of drowning deaths is that they are preventable, but there is no foolproof method of prevention. CPSC recommends using layers of
protection. This includes, constant supervision of young children; placing barriers such as a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around your pool to prevent
access; and being prepared in case of an emergency.

“We believe that using multiple layers of protections can prevent many of these deaths, but still too many children are dying,” Stratton said. “We are conducting these
public meetings to find out what has worked around the nation.”

With Memorial Day coming and many people readying their pools for the summer, now is the time to redouble efforts to prevent drowning deaths. Many of the
swimming pool deaths occur in summer months.

Close supervision of young children is vital for families with a home pool -- and not just when outside using the pool. A common scenario is that young children leave
the house without a parent or caregiver realizing it. Children are drawn to water, not knowing the terrible danger pools can pose. Also, just because children know
how to swim, doesn't mean they are safe. All children should be supervised every second while in and around the pool.

The commission offers these additional tips to prevent drowning:

  • 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. Keep furniture that could be used for climbing into the pool area away from fences.
  • If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a 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 when the pool is not in use.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool and be sure a phone is poolside with emergency numbers posted. Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be
    a lifesaver.
  • Don't leave pool toys and floats in the pool or pool area that may attract young children to the water.
  • For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • If a child is missing, always look in the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. Look for alarms that meet the requirements of the ASTM standard. The commission advises that
    consumers use remote alarm receivers so the alarm can be heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area.
  • To prevent body entrapment and hair entrapment/entanglement, have a qualified pool professional inspect the drain suction fittings and covers on your pool
    and spa to be sure that they are the proper size, properly attached, and meet current safety standards. If your pool or spa has a single drain outlet, consider
    installing a safety vacuum release system that breaks the vacuum to avoid potential entrapment conditions.
Additionally, CPSC offers three free publications consumers can use to help prevent child drowning: Safety Barrier Guidelines for Pools (PDF), How to Plan for the
Unexpected (PDF) and Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer (PDF). Copies of these publications can be obtained by going to our Web
site at, by calling our Hotline at (800) 638-2772, or by writing to "Pool Safety", U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C., 20207.

Consumers can also view a video clip about pool safety and drowning prevention (standard version or a higher quality version - broadband connection
recommended) (transcript) . This is in "streaming video" format.

Soundbites of CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton are also available here (in Windows Media Audio - .wma - format; about 4.4 megabytes in length) (transcript) on pool
safety and child drowning prevention.

Soundbites in Spanish of CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton are also available here (in Windows Media Audio - .wma - format; about 3.3 megabytes in length)
(transcripción) on pool safety and child drowning prevention.
Send the link for this page to a friend! 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 To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain this release and recall information
at CPSC's Web site at

The 2006 Florida Statutes



515.21  Short title.

515.23  Legislative findings and intent.

515.25  Definitions.

515.27  Residential swimming pool safety feature options; penalties.

515.29  Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.

515.31  Drowning prevention education program; public information publication.

515.33  Information required to be furnished to buyers.

515.35  Rulemaking authority.

515.37  Exemptions.

515.21  Short title.--This chapter may be cited as the "Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act."

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.23  Legislative findings and intent.--The Legislature finds that drowning is the leading cause of death of young children in this state and
is also a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly persons in this state, that constant adult supervision is the key to
accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and that when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety
feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool, spa, or hot tub will reduce drowning and near-drowning
incidents. In addition to the incalculable human cost of these submersion incidents, the health care costs, loss of lifetime productivity, and
legal and administrative expenses associated with drownings of young children and medically frail elderly persons in this state each year
and the lifetime costs for the care and treatment of young children who have suffered brain disability due to near-drowning incidents each
year are enormous. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped
with at least one pool safety feature as specified in this chapter. It is also the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Health be
responsible for producing its own or adopting a nationally recognized publication that provides the public with information on drowning
prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership and also for developing its own or adopting a nationally recognized drowning
prevention education program for the public and for persons violating the pool safety requirements of this chapter.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.25  Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:

(1)  "Approved safety pool cover" means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in compliance with standard F1346-91.

(2)  "Barrier" means a fence, dwelling wall, or nondwelling wall, or any combination thereof, which completely surrounds the swimming pool
and obstructs access to the swimming pool, especially access from the residence or from the yard outside the barrier.

(3)  "Department" means the Department of Health.

(4)  "Exit alarm" means a device that makes audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window which permits access from the
residence to any pool area that is without an intervening enclosure is opened or left ajar.

(5)  "Indoor swimming pool" means a swimming pool that is totally contained within a building and surrounded on all four sides by walls of
or within the building.

(6)  "Medically frail elderly person" means any person who is at least 65 years of age and has a medical problem that affects balance,
vision, or judgment, including, but not limited to, a heart condition, diabetes, or Alzheimer's disease or any related disorder.

(7)  "Outdoor swimming pool" means any swimming pool that is not an indoor swimming pool.

(8)  "Portable spa" means a nonpermanent structure intended for recreational bathing, in which all controls and water-heating and
water-circulating equipment are an integral part of the product and which is cord-connected and not permanently electrically wired.

(9)  "Public swimming pool" means a swimming pool, as defined in s. 514.011(2), which is operated, with or without charge, for the use of
the general public; however, the term does not include a swimming pool located on the grounds of a private residence.

(10)  "Residential" means situated on the premises of a detached one-family or two-family dwelling or a one-family townhouse not more
than three stories high.

(11)  "Swimming pool" means any structure, located in a residential area, that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing and
contains water over 24 inches deep, including, but not limited to, in-ground, aboveground, and on-ground swimming pools; hot tubs; and
nonportable spas.

(12)  "Young child" means any person under the age of 6 years.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.27  Residential swimming pool safety feature options; penalties.--

(1)  In order to pass final inspection and receive a certificate of completion, a residential swimming pool must meet at least one of the
following requirements relating to pool safety features:

(a)  The pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements of s. 515.29;

(b)  The pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover;

(c)  All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum
sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet; or

(d)  All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release
mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.

(2)  A person who fails to equip a new residential swimming pool with at least one pool safety feature as required in subsection (1)
commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, except that no penalty shall be
imposed if the person, within 45 days after arrest or issuance of a summons or a notice to appear, has equipped the pool with at least one
safety feature as required in subsection (1) and has attended a drowning prevention education program established by s. 515.31. However,
the requirement of attending a drowning prevention education program is waived if such program is not offered within 45 days after
issuance of the citation.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.29  Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.--

(1)  A residential swimming pool barrier must have all of the following characteristics:

(a)  The barrier must be at least 4 feet high on the outside.

(b)  The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to
crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier.

(c)  The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding
the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the
barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.

(d)  The barrier must be placed sufficiently away from the water's edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may
have managed to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water.

(2)  The structure of an aboveground swimming pool may be used as its barrier or the barrier for such a pool may be mounted on top of its
structure; however, such structure or separately mounted barrier must meet all barrier requirements of this section. In addition, any ladder
or steps that are the means of access to an aboveground pool must be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access or
must be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of this section.

(3)  Gates that provide access to swimming pools must open outward away from the pool and be self-closing and equipped with a
self-latching locking device, the release mechanism of which must be located on the pool side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be
reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap.

(4)  A wall of a dwelling may serve as part of the barrier if it does not contain any door or window that opens to provide access to the
swimming pool.

(5)  A barrier may not be located in a way that allows any permanent structure, equipment, or similar object to be used for climbing the

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.31  Drowning prevention education program; public information publication.--

(1)  The department shall develop a drowning prevention education program, which shall be made available to the public at the state and
local levels and which shall be required as set forth in s. 515.27(2) for persons in violation of the pool safety requirements of this chapter.
The department may charge a fee, not to exceed $100, for attendance at such a program. The drowning prevention education program shall
be funded using fee proceeds, state funds appropriated for such purpose, and grants. The department, in lieu of developing its own
program, may adopt a nationally recognized drowning prevention education program to be approved for use in local safety education
programs, as provided in rule of the department.

(2)  The department shall also produce, for distribution to the public at no charge, a publication that provides information on drowning
prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership. The department, in lieu of developing its own publication, may adopt a nationally
recognized drowning prevention and responsibilities of pool ownership publication, as provided in rule of the department.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.33  Information required to be furnished to buyers.--A licensed pool contractor, on entering into an agreement with a buyer to build a
residential swimming pool, or a licensed home builder or developer, on entering into an agreement with a buyer to build a house that
includes a residential swimming pool, must give the buyer a document containing the requirements of this chapter and a copy of the
publication produced by the department under s. 515.31 that provides information on drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.35  Rulemaking authority.--The department shall adopt rules pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act establishing the fees
required to attend drowning prevention education programs and setting forth the information required under this chapter to be provided by
licensed pool contractors and licensed home builders or developers.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-143.

515.37  Exemptions.--This chapter does not apply to:

(1)  Any system of sumps, irrigation canals, or irrigation flood control or drainage works constructed or operated for the purpose of storing,
delivering, distributing, or conveying water.

(2)  Stock ponds, storage tanks, livestock operations, livestock watering troughs, or other structures used in normal agricultural practices.

(3)  Public swimming pools.

(4)  Any political subdivision that has adopted or adopts a residential pool safety ordinance, provided the ordinance is equal to or more
stringent than the provisions of this chapter.

(5)  Any portable spa with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F1346-91 (Standard Performance Specification for Safety Covers and
Labeling Requirements for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs).

(6)  Small, temporary pools without motors, which are commonly referred to or known as "kiddy pools."
Pool Safety