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Swimming pool fencing

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Community Development Professionals Local Government
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 20-49% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Pool fencing is designed to reduce children’s unintended access to swimming pools and to prevent drowning. As of 2014, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children between 1 and 14 years old, and the leading cause for children between 1 to 4 years old (CDC-Cause of death). Fences can be installed voluntarily by homeowners or public entities, or be required by regulation.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that swimming pool fences decrease injury and reduce the risk of drowning death among children (Cochrane-Thompson 2010, Wallis 2015). The CDC and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend fencing pools to prevent drowning and injury, especially among young children (CDC-Drowning, US CPSC-Pool Fencing).

Research suggests that pool fencing ordinances are more effective with strong enforcement of installation (Wallis 2015). Effective legislation about pool fencing also requires four-sided, climb-resistant isolation fencing with secure, self-latching gates, as well as strict inspections for all existing and newly constructed pools (public, semi-public, and private) (Mott 2016, AAP-Drowning 2010).

Fencing that completely encircles a pool and isolates it from the house is much more effective than fencing which allows children to gain access to the pool through the house (Cochrane-Thompson 2010).

Implementation

United States

Pool fencing regulations that require fencing around private swimming pools are common in many states and municipalities, for example: New York state (NY Pool rules) and Fairfax County Virginia (Fairfax County Pool FAQs). 

Wisconsin

Regulations requiring fencing around private swimming pools are not in place at the state level, but are common in most Wisconsin municipalities, for example: Grafton (Grafton WI Pools), Madison (Madison Pool Regulations), Kenosha County (Kenosha County Zoning), and West Allis (West Allis Pools).

Implementation Resources

CDC-Drowning - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drowning prevention. Accessed on September 1, 2016
CDC-MAHC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC): An all-inclusive model public swimming pool and spa code. Accessed on September 9, 2016
US CPSC-Pool Fencing - US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US CPSC). Safety barrier guidelines for residential pools: Preventing child drownings. Washington, DC: US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Pub. No. 362. Accessed on September 1, 2016

Citations - Description

CDC-Cause of death - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ten leading causes of death and injury. Accessed on September 6, 2016

Citations - Evidence

AAP-Drowning 2010 - American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Policy Statement-Prevention of Drowning. Pediatrics. 2010;126(1):178-185. Accessed on September 9, 2016
CDC-Drowning - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drowning prevention. Accessed on September 1, 2016
Cochrane-Thompson 2010* - Thompson DC, Rivara F. Pool fencing for preventing drowning of children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(1):CD001047. Accessed on August 26, 2016
Mott 2016* - Mott TF, Latimer KM. Prevention and Treatment of Drowning. American Family Physician. 2016;93(7):576–582. Accessed on September 9, 2016
US CPSC-Pool Fencing - US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US CPSC). Safety barrier guidelines for residential pools: Preventing child drownings. Washington, DC: US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Pub. No. 362. Accessed on September 1, 2016
Wallis 2015* - Wallis BA, Watt K, Franklin RC, et al. Interventions associated with drowning prevention in children and adolescents: Systematic literature review. Injury Prevention. 2015;21(3):195–204. Accessed on September 9, 2016

Citations - Implementation

Fairfax County Pool FAQs - Fairfax County Virginia. FAQs: Residential swimming pools. Accessed on August 24, 2016
Grafton WI Pools - Village of Grafton Wisconsin. Shed/garage and swimming pool requirements. Accessed on August 24, 2016
Kenosha County Zoning - Kenosha County Wisconsin. Zoning/permitting. Accessed on August 24, 2016
Madison Pool Regulations - City of Madison Development Services Center. Swimming pools (above or in-ground). Accessed on September 1, 2016
NY Pool rules - New York Department of State Division of Code Enforcement & Administration (DCEA). Swimming pool rules and regulations found in the uniform fire prevention and building code (uniform code). Accessed on August 24, 2016
West Allis Pools - City of West Allis Department of Building Inspections & Zoning. Swimming pools. Accessed on August 24, 2016

Page Last Updated

September 6, 2016

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