Fences around pools markedly reduce the incidence of submersion injuries in those areas where it is required.129-132 Because fencing requires no training or action on the part of the child or the parent; it deserves a very high priority in prevention efforts. The fencing should be at least 4 feet high and include self-locking gates. Immersion alarm systems for unattended pools will further decrease deaths, but should not be used as a primary means of drowning prevention.
The adult who is intoxicated not only cannot supervise a child; he or she cannot supervise personal actions. To reach the "legally drunk" 100 mg/dl level, the average 70-kg person needs to consume only 4 beers or two mixed drinks in the space of an hour. Any steps that reduce intoxication among swimmers will reduce the frequency of injury and death.
Patients with seizure disorders or other handicaps must be properly supervised, as their risk is higher.133 For these patients, buddy swimming and proper supervision is mandatory. For parents of these children, cardiopulmonary resuscitation training should be strongly advocated.41