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Drowning is a leading cause of fatality among children in the United States, and residential pools/spas currently account for as much as 80% of these submersion incidents. This study reviewed narrative case reports obtained from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to understand barrier location, type, and functionality as methods of pool/spa access for childhood submersion incidents. Retroactive analysis of 1,523 fatal and non-fatal submersion incidents among children aged 13 years old and younger was conducted using the CPSC in depth investigation dataset from 2000-2017. Narrative descriptions were coded according to the attributes of barrier location, functionality, and method of access; to our knowledge, these characteristics of barriers have not been previously investigated to this depth. Outcomes indicate that consumer education campaigns should target households with swimming pools/spas and reiterate key findings that (1) submersion incidents occur even when barriers are present and (2) the importance of multiple layers of protection against unauthorized pool/spa access. Additionally, improved documentation of barriers is imperative to better understand and prevent drowning among children.