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HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA:  Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children aged 1 – 4 years and the majority of the children that drown in swimming pools most commonly gain access to the pool area when there is no fence or through a faulty fence or gate.  

Combined with constant child supervision and other layers of protection, a possible solution to this issue is physically checking your pool gate and maintaining your pool gate regularly to ensure it self-closes and self-latches at all times. You should not be able to open a gate at all without activating the release mechanism which should be out of the reach of toddlers. 

D&D Technologies®, the inventor and manufacturer of the MagnaLatch® Pool Safety Gate Latch and the world leader in high-performance gate hardware, has partnered with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) to establish a Check Your Pool Gate Month campaign kicking-off Memorial Day Weekend and continuing through the month of June.  The initiative was created to remind pool owners of the vital need to ensure pool fences, gates, latches and hinges are secure and in top working order.  Every pool owner should be confident they have a safe swimming zone.  

“Our aim with Check Your Pool Gate Month is to educate pool owners about pool safety and to encourage them to check their pool surroundings not once a year, but regularly,” says Jim Paterson, D&D’s VP of Sales and Marketing.

A few minutes is all it takes for pool owners to check that their pool fences and gates, including latches and hinges, are in good working order.  If you can’t fix it call your local contractor to service your gate and ensure the gate is secured while waiting. This simple routine done regularly could help save the life of a child.  

Safety checklist for pool gates

  • Should open outwards, away from the pool
  • Height of latch release mechanism is least 54” from the bottom of the gate (check local codes)
  • Must be self-closing and self-latching
  • Hinges should be rust-free and bind-free
  • Hinges should be reliable and tension-adjustable for closing speed
  • Latch must be adjustable horizontally and vertically to accommodate gate movement
  • Gate will latch when latch is in the locked or unlocked position
  • Latch cannot be disengaged using implements (e.g. garden or pool tools)
  • Latch cannot be shaken or jolted open
  • Gate will shut and latch securely from any open angle or force
  • Complies with all applicable standards, codes and legislation for pool safety

For more information on pool safety and compliance visit:  www.us.ddtech.com/pages/pool-safety-compliance and www.ndpa.org

It’s critical to check your local pool codes for compliance, as local codes may vary. 

D&D Technologies gate hardware can be purchased on Amazon or at Home Depot or Lowes.

About D&D Technologies 

D&D Technologies is the recognized leader in safety and high-performance gate hardware, providing the broadest range of gate hardware for every application.  D&D Technologies produces over 300 gate hardware products and has 30 years of experience in the gate hardware industry.  Products include MagnaLatch® magnetic pool and safety gate latches, TruClose® adjustable, self-closing safety gate hinges, LokkLatch® gate latches, SureClose® and Shut It industrial hinges.  D&D’s diversity of products continually set new standards in design, performance, craftsmanship and innovation–tied together by a top level of quality and service.  D&D products are rust free and consistently exceed all relevant safety barrier codes around the world for the residential, commercial and industrial markets.

NDPA Sustaining sponsor blog cover

The National Water Safety Conference, hosted by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) is the nation’s leading annual event devoted to drowning prevention and water safety. The conference is hosted for the cross-section of the industry and is built on a foundation of top thought leadership and education.

It is thanks to the commitment and continued support of our sustaining sponsors that our flagship conference reaches a national and global audience, offering intelligent, engaging and relevant content to all attendees.

For everything NDPA Sustaining Sponsors have done for us in the past, everything they still do and will continue to do, we at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance are thankful and excited about all the possibilities we see in a prosperous future together.

https://us.ddtech.com/

D&D Technologies is a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of quality, state-of the-art gate latches, locks and hinges.

D&D Technologies now enjoys a reputation as the #1 gate hardware designer in the world, with established markets in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South America, the UK and Europe. They confidently guarantee the highest quality of the products they sell. With options available for all gate applications and materials D&D hardware is ISO tested and certified to the most stringent standards.

While they are in the business of profit, they are also very proud of the fact their products save children’s lives. They give back to the community with strong financial and practical support of child-drowning-prevention organisations worldwide such as the NDPA. It’s all part of their passion and commitment.

https://www.cvent.com/

Cvent offers software solutions to event planners and marketers for online event registration, venue selection, event management and marketing, onsite solutions, and attendee engagement. #Cvent’s suite of products automate and simplify the planning process to maximize the impact of events.

With their support, the NDPA has managed to take the National Water Safety Conference to the next level as a virtual event.

https://counsilmanhunsaker.com/

For more than 45 years, Counsilman-Hunsaker has led the industry by completing more than 1,000 national and international aquatic projects of every size and complexity. In fact, many of the innovations that are now standard in the industry were conceived at Counsilman-Hunsaker.

The NDPA thanks them for their commitment to the audiovisual aspects of the National Water Safety Conference. Their effort, time and support have contributed to the continued success of this annual event.

https://www.familiesunitedtopreventdrowning.org/

Families United to Prevent Drowning is a group of people connected for the worst possible reason: the loss or near loss of someone we love to a water tragedy. Through Families United, we join to create one voice. Together we say, “Not one more drowning.”

Though their stories were different, the end result was undeniably the same: drowning is preventable. These shattered families forged a union that would create one singular, shared vision for the future. Stronger together than apart. Today, that group is 60 families strong. And sadly, growing.

https://www.ipssa.com/

The Independent Pool and Spa Service Association, Inc. exists for the mutual professional benefit and growth of its members and for the continued improvement of the pool and spa industry.

https://michaelphelpsfoundation.org/

Upon returning home to the U.S. after competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael launched the Michael Phelps Foundation and embarked upon an eight-city tour across the country to share his Dream, Plan, Reach message with Boys & Girls Clubs of America members.

In 2009, along with the help of KidsHealth.org and Michael Phelps Swimming, we developed our signature program, IM. IM is a water-safety, physical and mental wellness, and goal-setting program for Boys & Girls Clubs of America members and Special Olympics International athletes.

https://www.phta.org/

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance protects and advances the common interests of the industry by providing education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitabilit

It is their core purpose to promote safe and healthy pool and hot tub environments for people to share enjoyable aquatic experiences.

https://www.usaswimming.org/foundation/

Serving as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, the USA Swimming Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions. By equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim and providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country.

https://www.iccsafe.org/

The International Code Council is the leading global source of model codes and standards and building safety solutions that include product evaluation, accreditation, technology, training, and certification. The Code Council’s codes, standards, and solutions are used to ensure safe, affordable, and sustainable communities and buildings worldwide.

https://joshtheotter.org/

The Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation‘s mission is to educate children and adults worldwide about water safety through the utilization of drowning prevention campaigns & early childhood water safety training.

https://www.misstristan.com/

Miss Tristan Foundation was formed to ensure that Tristan Lynn Byrd would live on through the organization’s drowning prevention efforts. They are dedicated to raise water safety awareness through education of children and adults in and around spas, pools, and open bodies of water

post header pool life ring

“Layers of protection” is a term used to define and classify the majority of strategies directly affecting aquatic environments in their quest to prevent childhood drowning.

Drowning remains a significant public health concern as it is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-4 years, the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-14 years, and is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for all ages in the United States (CDC, WISQARS, 2005).

Water-related injuries also affect a significant number of American children. It is estimated that as many as twenty percent of drowning victims suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. Knowing what to do in a water emergency, including how to help someone in trouble in the water safely, can help reduce these numbers.

The following layers of protection are intended to minimize injury should a child gain access to the water and are meant to be used immediately in the event of such an emergency.

Telephone  

Emergency pool phone by ePoolphone

Keep a phone poolside (a land line with the pool’s physical address is best) for emergency use so that an adult can call for help if needed. (Calling from a cell phone won’t automatically tell the 911 operator the location.)

Learn CPR 

Learn CPR and rescue breathing

Anyone who lives in a home with a pool should learn CPR and rescue breathing. Ensure that babysitters have current CPR training and certification.  CPR training and certification should be refreshed every one to two years, depending upon the certification agency, or more frequently if there have been recent changes in recommendations.

In a group, such as a pool party, at least one person should know CPR.  Anyone who is the sole supervisor of a child should learn CPR and rescue breathing.

Water Safety and Rescue Course 

Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Course

Pool owners and operators should enroll in a local water safety course that teaches proper rescue techniques. Course should include hands-on practice using a shepherd’s hook and life-saving ring.

Organizations like the American Red Cross offer water safety and rescue courses and certifications.

Rescue Equipment 

Life ring at swimming pool

Keep a life-saving ring and shepherd’s hook at poolside.

CPR instructions should be posted poolside. 

Know how to use the rescue equipment and perform CPR.

Search  

If a child is missing, always check the pool first.  Seconds count. If a child cannot be located immediately, call 9-1-1 and enlist assistance in the search. 

Read the complete Layers of Protection Position Paper for more information on the steps you can take to prevent drowning.

Sign up for the NDPA Newsletter for more information on water safety awareness events, resources and more ways you can contribute to prevent drowning.

what are layers of protection

Drowning has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/ immersion in liquid.” The outcome of a drowning incident can be classified as “death,” “morbidity,” and “no morbidity”. The more common terms used in discussions are “fatal” or “nonfatal” drownings.

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-4 years, the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-14 years, and is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for all ages in the United States. Water-related injuries also affect a significant number of American children. An estimated twenty percent of drowning victims suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.

Drowning is, however, preventable and the NDPA recognizes that multiple strategies are necessary in order to do so. The term “layers of protection” is one used to classify the majority of strategies directly affecting aquatic environments. Parents, caregivers, residential pool owners, aquatic facility owners, managers and operators should use “layers of protection” to provide a system of increased security to prevent unauthorized access to bodies of water, especially important for children. This means that multiple strategies or devices are used constantly and simultaneously.

“Layers of protection” include:

Supervision

Parents, adults and caregivers must actively supervise children at all times when in or near the water and be fully aware of potential dangers in all environments, such as when visiting other homes, while on vacation, or at public/community pools.

Always designate a water watcher to actively supervise children when in or near water.

Unfortunately, many drowning incidents have occurred when people are solely engaged in swimming or other water play, and adults know children are in the water and those adults are nearby.

Active supervision is the first and most important layer of protection needed to prevent drowning accidents. Always assign a water watcher when kids are in the water who will watch them at all times without any distractions.

Physical Layers

Fences are the first physical line of defense that restrict access to the pool.

Physical layers may also be considered as barriers and constitute the first line of physical defense that restrict unauthorized access to the pool or spa area in its entirety or prevent unauthorized access to the water in the pool or spa.

Bear in mind that barriers are not child proof, but they do provide layers of protection for a child when there is a lapse in adult supervision. Barriers give parents additional time to find a child before the unexpected can occur. (USCPSC).

Physical layers that limit access to the pool or spa area:

  • Fences, 
  • Gates 
  • Latches 
  • House doors 
Pool safety cover
Pool safety cover

Physical layers that restrict access to the water include:

  • Pool and spa safety covers (power-operated, semi-automatic or manual)
  • Pool safety nets
  • Winter safety covers

Learn to Swim

Swimming lessons should be considered an additional layer of protection needed to prevent drowning accidents. Surviving in the water becomes increasingly difficult without this life-saving skill. According to the CDC, formal swimming lessons can reduce the chances of drowning by 88 percent.

Image: Northern Beaches Council

When selecting a swimming class for your child, ensure it includes water safety and survival education at the appropriate developmental level.

Other than the layers listed above, there are additional layers needed in case an emergency should occur that include learning CPR, first aid and rescue knowledge.

Alarms

Alarms are an important addition to creating a safer environment. 

They can be added to windows, doors, gates and the pool to alert an adult when a barrier has been breached. While the primary goal of layers of protection is to prevent unauthorized access to the water, alarms are important to alert adults if access to the water has been made.  

Alarms can be your last line of defense and allow adults to respond to an emergency quicker.

Active adult supervision and pool barriers are two key layers of protection against child drowning and must always be present, but be aware that not even the most diligent parent or caregiver can actively supervise a child 24/7. Barriers can be breached which is why the NDPA urges using multiple strategies and devices simultaneously to help prevent injuries and deaths from drowning. 

Each additional layer or strategy beyond the first could be the one that saves a life so be sure to use as many as possible at all times.

For more detailed information, read our complete position paper here.

DandD technologies blog cover

D&D Technologies is the founder and one of the sustaining sponsors of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.

It was thanks to their vision and effort that the NDPA was created in 2004 as a product of their commitment to preventing toddler drowning worldwide while working closely with, and contributing to, water safety organizations globally. Since then, they have been a great ally and supporter of drowning prevention and water safety education efforts across the globe.

D&D Technologies started out in Sydney, Australia, evolving from a small, family-owned fencing company to become a worldwide leader in gate hardware. Owners of the then D&D Aluminium Fencing company had been frustrated by the lack of reliable, durable latches and hinges to complement their custom-made aluminium-and-glass pool fencing systems.

In 1988, one of the company’s founders, David Doyle, saw a science program featuring “rare earth” magnets – highly efficient magnets that never lose their magnetic force. Devising a latching mechanism around this idea, and using rust-free engineering polymers and stainless steel components, the MagnaLatch was born.

MagnaLatch® Magnetic Child Safety Gate Latch

D&D gained international recognition with its ground-breaking MagnaLatch® magnetic child safety gate latch for swimming pool and other child safety gates, winning several prestigious design awards for its revolutionary design. They invented magnetic gate latches (MagnaLatch®) and rust-free polymer gate hinges (TruClose®) to keep your children safe by blocking their unsupervised access to the water. Their strength, reliability and ease of adjustment make them the perfect choice for gates where child safety is important.

D&D Technologies is committed to help educate the public about the importance of having pool gates and fences as a needed layer of protection against drowning accidents. Well aware that drowning is the number 1 cause of accidental deaths for children ages 1 – 4, they continuously share information in the interest of consumer and public safety to help reduce this statistic.

Go over this checklist courtesy of D&D and make sure your pool gates are contributing to keep your child safe and they comply with U.S. safety standards such as the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

D&D Technologies is a Platinum Sponsor for the 2020 National Water Safety Conference to be held in Fort Worth, TX from April 5 -9, 2020. Register for the conference here: bit.ly/NDPA2020.

You can also become an NDPA sponsor and contribute to our efforts to prevent drowning! Click here for more information.