Using Pools and Spas Safely
Swimming pools and spas can be healthy and fun for kids of all ages. However, in 2012 the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that almost 300 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools each year and thousands more are injured.
Fortunately, there are many actions that pool users can take to reduce the risk of drowning, injury or illness:
- Small children require constant adult supervision. There is no substitute for the watchful eye of caring adults.
- Make sure you know if anyone using your pool is a non-swimmer, especially the children.
- Establish and enforce rules for pool and spa use. Don’t allow kids to run or play games near the pool. Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheeled toys, away from pools, as children playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.
- Install a certified barrier or pool alarm to help prevent unauthorized persons from entering the area surrounding your pool or spa. Wristband alarms are also available to alert parents if a child should accidentally fall into the water.
- Ensure your pool and/or spa is properly sanitized and maintained. Use pool treatment chemicals safely and always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Store chemicals in a cool, dry area out of the reach of children.
- Make sure an emergency shut-off switch for the pump is installed nearby and that it is easily accessible. Everyone should know where these switches are located and how to use them.
- Don’t let anyone use your pool or spa if you have a broken or missing drain cover. If family or friends have pools that your children visit, make sure to check for properly attached drain covers and instruct children to keep away from the drains.
- Make sure drain covers and grates meet the current anti-entrapment standards in the Pool and Spa Safety Act to help prevent body parts and hair from becoming trapped. Covers that meet today’s standards display ANSI/APSP 16 or ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 on the cover’s exterior. More information about this new standard is available on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.
- Check local building codes to ensure the fence surrounding your pool meets minimum type and height requirements. Gates leading to the pool area should have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism to prevent unauthorized entry.
- Drain standing water from the surface of pool and spa covers, as small children can drown in even the smallest amount of water. Always remove covers completely before using a pool or spa.