Forensic Engineering Investigation of Above-ground Pool Submersion Accidents

Richard Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E, Fellow 308William H. Pierce, P.E., Correspondent 846


Approximately 35 children under the age of 5 years old access above-ground pools via a ladder and drown each year in the United States. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data also shows that approximately 140 additional children sustain submersion injuries associated with ladder access in such pools each year. CPSC data shows further that in many cases, these events occurred during brief lapses of adult supervision.

This paper focuses on potential product defect issues related to child submersion accidents, including the role of User Manuals, alternative designs, warnings, instructions, and child behavior testing.

In this paper the authors outline issues related to the investigation of above ground swimming pool accidents. Procedures and steps that may be useful in analyzing whether or not the swimming pool is defective and unreasonably dangerous are outlined.

Published By


Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers
December 2015