Reasons to be Safe:
Informed users are worried about safety because serious injuries or death can result from unsafe use of pools, pool equipment, and associated products.
According to the U.S. Consumer product safety commission, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children aged 1-14 in the United States, especially for children under five. Although the greatest percentage of drownings occur in natural aquatic settings, (e.g., oceans, lakes, quarries, etc.) drownings do occur in swimming pools. The water depth of any pool is sufficient for drowning to occur. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports drowning of children even in water buckets and toilets.
Be aware of the 5 types of Entrapment:
- Hair: Hair can become entangled in an improperly covered drain.
- Limbs: Arms or legs can get lodged and may not be able to be pulled free from an improperly covered drain, even if the pumps are turned off.
- Body: Any part of the body that covers a drain can be held down by the suction.
- Evisceration: Sitting on a drain with suction or a broken or missing cover can cause injuries or disembowelment.
- Mechanical: Fingers, toes, and items such as jewelry or a bathing suit can become entangled and stuck in a non-compliant drain or cover.
Take these 3 steps to keep your pool, spa, or hot tub safe and free from entrapment risk:
- Have your pool or spa inspected by a licensed industry professional.
- There is no backup for a broken, missing, or inadequate cover. Replace any broken, missing, or non-complaint covers with covers that are marked: “VGB2008,” ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007” or show the swimmer logo.
- Pools or spas with a single main drain require additional protection. Options include
Never swim in a pool or use a spa or hot tub that has a broken or missing drain cover! Note that disabling the drain(s) or reversing the flow eliminates entrapment hazards completely and should be discussed with a service professional.
Improper driving or sliding, alcohol consumption, horseplay, roughhousing in and around swimming pools may lead to serious neck and spinal injuries including paralysis in the form of quadriplegia or paraplegia. A number of these injuries occur yearly, with the overwhelming majority occurring in shallow water. A number of people who ignored these rules and chose to dive into shallow water are now paralyzed. The facts show that many of these were experienced divers. Don’t let this happen to you. Inform family and guests who come to enjoy your pool of the safety rules have established.
Chemicals needed for clean, sanitized water are potentially harmful when stored or used improperly. If mixed with other chemicals or elements, explosions and fire can occur. Read the label and follow manufacturers’ instructions. Always store chemicals where they cannot be reached by children.
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Electrical shock or electrocution can occur in a pool if live electrical current flowing through applications and devices (including current from a telephone) comes into contact with the water. Make sure all electrical appliances and devices are protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
Cuts, Contusions, and abrasions:
The pool environment, as well as associated products and equipment, can be a source of injury to users. Slipping and falling can result in cuts or scrapes or broken legs and arms. Horseplay, improper use of equipment or failure to follow manufacturers’ instructions or warnings can result in serious trauma and permanently disabling injuries.
Drowning Prevention Tips
1. Adult Supervision
There is NO SUBSTITUTE FOR ADULT SUPERVISION!
In the time it takes you to run inside to answer a phone or take something out of the oven a child could drown. Never leave children alone while they’re swimming. Not even for a minute! And no distractions when watching children! Reading a book, cooking on a grill, or talking to your friends is not adult supervision. Assign an adult in 15-minutes intervals to be the “water watcher” you’ll save lives, and everyone will have an enjoyable experience.
Drowning prevention information is not “for someone else.” It is for you. Because only by increased awareness and effort, can we reduce some very alarming statistics. Drowning is one of the largest causes of accidental death for children under the age of five. This is an avoidable accident, which can be prevented by constant adult supervision. Organizations such as the American Red Cross, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, Think First, The APSP, the Center for Disease Control, the YMCA of the United States, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation, recognize that constant adult supervision is the primary element in an integrated approach to drowning prevention.
Pools, spas, and hot tubs are attractive to children, and children must be kept away from them when there is no responsible adult supervision in the area. A fence, wall, or natural/artificial barrier should completely surround your pool, spa, or hot tub. All gates or doors leading from the house to the pool area should have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism that protects against unauthorized entry and use. The inside latch should be at least 54 inches (1.37 m) high above the reach of toddlers or young children. Also, an alarm system for your pool, spa, or hot tub can warn you if someone has penetrated the barrier.
Check with your state or local government to learn their specific legal requirements concerning fencing around pools, spas, and hot tubs. You cannot be too cautions. If your pool, spa, or hot tub is indoors, lock the door to the room or have a cover that locks, to keep children out.
4. Never swim with broken drain covers
Only swim in a safe and designated swimming area. Never swim in or use any pool or spa that has a broken or missing drain cover.
5. No swimming around drain covers
Be aware of where suction fitting (drains) are located and do not play or swim near them. Your body, swimsuit or hair can get trapped, causing permanent injury or drowning.
6. Objects near the pool
Do not place objects (such as chairs or tables) near the pool, spa, or hot tub fence or barrier that could allow youngster to climb over.
7. Vegetation and obstacles
Remove vegetation and other obstacles to create a clear view of the pool, spa, or hot tub from the house.
If you use a pool, spa, or hot tub cover, carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe installation, use, and maintenance. Always completely remove the cover before using your pool, spa, or hot tub to avoid the possibility of anyone – especially a small child – being trapped and drowning under the cover.
9. Standing water
Drain any standing water from the surface of your pool, spa, or hot tub cover. An infant or small child can drown in even the smallest amount of water.
10. Floating covers
If you use any of the lightweight floating covers for you pool, spa, or hot tub, be especially alert for the potential for drowning accidents. These covers are not designed to support any person’s weight and no one should ever crawl or walk on them.
First Aid/In Case of Emergency
In Case of Emergency
- Dial the local emergency telephone numbers (9-1-1) or the appropriate 10-digit number for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Fire or police. It is advisable to use a cordless telephone in pool or spa area.
- Give your: Name, Location, and telephone number you are calling from.
- Tell what happened and how many people need help.
- Don’t hang up the phone until after the emergency person does. Adults in the family should be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is the combination of rescue breathing and artificial circulation for victims of respiratory or cardiac arrest as a result of drowning, heart attack or other causes. CPR training is available through the local chapters of American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
Guidelines for CPR-
At least one responsible person should be trained in artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Such training is available from local organizations such as the American Red Cross.
If an incident happens, you should first determine if the child is responsive and breathing normally by seeing if they respond to shouts and tap of the shoulders (bottom of the foot for an infant) while looking at the head and chest for normal breathing (gasping is not normal and should be considered as not breathing). Even if the child is responsive, or if you have any doubts whatsoever, you should immediately call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number in your area.
If the child or infant does not respond and is not breathing or is only gasping, follow the procedures below.
- Call out for help and ask someone else to call 9-1-1. Stay with the child while someone else calls 9-1-1. If you are alone and the child is not breathing normally, try two minutes of CPR before leaving the child to call for help. If you have a mobile phone readily available, you may use the speaker phone at the child’s side while preforming CPR to call 9-1-1.
- Position the child on their back, lying flat on a firm surface. If there is evidence of a head and/or neck injury, use caution in moving the child and keep in mind that the child must be turned as a unit with firm support of the head and neck, so the head does not roll, twist, or tilt.
- Place 2 hands in the center of the child’s chest (2 fingers just below the nipple line in the center of the chest for an infant).
- Provide 30 hard and fast chest compressions at a depth of about 2 inches (about 1 ½ inches for an infant) at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
- If trained, pinch the nose and provide 2 breaths with enough air to make the chest begin to rise. Continue to give 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths until there are obvious signs of life or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives.
In general, here are some tips for chemical use and storage:
- Before using chemicals, read the labels and directions carefully. Follow label use instructions.
- Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children.
- Storage: Chemical reagents for test kits should be replaced each year.
- Keep the original lids on all chemical containers and make sure the lids are closed tightly when not in use.
- Do not stack different chemicals on top of one another.
- Store your pool chemicals in a clean, cool, dry, well-ventilated area, preferably off the floor to prevent contamination from other materials. Do not store chemicals and equipment used for garden and lawn maintenance. Keep acids away from other chemicals.
- Keep liquid chemicals away from dry chemicals. Keep apart chemicals that are different forms of oxidizing compounds. Physically separate all different forms of chemicals.
- Do not store your pool chemicals where other flammable items may mix with them. For example, a mixture of pool chemicals and fertilizer can cause a fire or explosion.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after using chemicals.
- Usage: Never mix two chemicals together. Use a clean scoop for each chemical and never combine material from “old” and “new” containers.
- Always add the chemicals directly to the pool water, either in a suitable feeder, distributed across the surface of the pool, or diluted and poured into the water. Follow label use instructions.
- Always add chemicals to water. Never water to chemicals.
- Never add chemicals to the pool water while swimmers are using the pool.
- Carefully clean up any spilled chemicals with large amounts of water, to dilute and wash away the chemicals. Check with local authorities before sending disinfectants and pH adjustment chemicals to the sewer as waste.
- Wash out empty containers before disposing to eliminate danger of fire, explosion, or poisoning.
- Test the water in your pool with a reliable test kit on a schedule recommended by your pool professionals. As a rule, the more people who use your pool, the more frequently you should test the water. Add the necessary chemicals according to the test results and the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Chemicals for test kits should be replaced every year.
- Do not inhale dust or fumes from any pool chemicals. If necessary, use protective devices for breathing, handling, and eye protection. Promptly wash off any residues that get on your skin.
- Never reuse old chemical containers.
- If you have any questions regarding safe handling, storage, or use of pool chemicals, contact the manufacturers.
For children pool safety lessons visit the following links or look into The Pool Safetly App for children.
Kids Corner on Poolsafetly.gov
Children learning how to use the pool safely