An unfenced backyard pool: A source of fun but also a source of danger!

It’s that time of the year again — pool season!  As temperatures rise, there’s nothing more fun for kids to do than splash away in the nearest pool.

As parents, grandparents, child care providers and a caring community, we must also be aware of the dangers that come with access to swimming pools. 

In fact, drowning is the No. 1 cause of death among children ages 1-4 here in Orange County and across the United States.

Every year, we hear tragic stories about accidental drownings.  Here is what Nicole, Levi’s mother, shared with the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention:   “Our three-year-old son, Levi, drowned in June 2018 while we were on a beach vacation with friends.  One moment, he was sitting on the couch watching TV while I cleaned up dinner.  The next moment, I was pulling him from the bottom of the pool.  Levi had somehow slipped out of the kitchen filled with people, including myself, my husband, and five other physician friends.”

A 4-sided pool fence would have prevented this tragedy.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that 69% of children younger than 5 years of age who were involved in a drowning incident were not supposed to be at or in the pool at the time of the incident.  That’s why it’s so important to fence your pool.

An accidental drowning can happen to any family, at any time.

The only evidence-based best practice that has been documented through research to prevent the death or disability of a child from unsupervised access to a swimming pool is installation of a 4-sided isolation fence.  The fence should include a self-closing, self-latching gate that meets the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standard.

If you have a backyard pool, please be sure to install a 4-sided isolation fence to keep your kids (and your pets) safe.


National Center for Fatality Review & Prevention:  Review of Drowning Fatalities, May 2020.

American Academy of Pediatrics:  Drowning Prevention Toolkit

Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH