Climbing performance of children: is the above-ground pool wall a climbing barrier?

Percept Mot Skills. 2001 Jun;92(3 Pt 2):1255-62. doi: 10.2466/pms.2001.92.3c.1255.


15 children between the ages of 42 and 54 months attempted to climb a 48-in. wall representing the wall of an above-ground swimming pool. Three different climbing tasks were presented to all the children: (1) climbing over the swimming pool wall without any tools which could assist their climb, (2) climbing over the wall with a child-resistant ladder frame placed over the wall, (3) climbing over the wall when a pool filter was placed 12 in. from the wall. Each child's success or failure climbing over the pool wall was recorded. A repeated-measures analysis of variance indicated there were no significant performance differences in performance across the three climbing tasks. None of these climbing tasks resulted in more successful climbing performances for all the children. The results of these observations indicated the removal of the swimming pool filter or support frame of the ladder did not always stop the children from climbing over the wall. Since the 48 in. wall of the home swimming pool does not consistently function as a barrier, additional fencing is needed to prevent children from entering above-ground home swimming pools. However, no barrier replaces constant supervision of young children.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Locomotion*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Swimming Pools*