Five Steps to a Safer Pool and Spa

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (cpsc.gov), in 2013 more than 200 children between the ages of 1 and 14 drowned in a swimming pool or spa in the United States during the traditional summer swimming season spanning Memorial Day to Labor Day. Of those, 143 were under the age of 5.

No matter how many years you have owned a pool, it’s important not to take safety for granted. Take advantage of today’s latest products and technologies to keep your pool safer.

Tip #1 – Pay Attention to Pool Drains

Between 2008 and 2012, the CPSC (poolsafely.gov) reports that 39 people became trapped in pool drains in the U.S., including two children ages 6 and 14 who died after becoming entrapped.

Each time you use your pool, check the drain covers to make sure they are properly installed, and don’t let kids play on or near them. It’s also important to make sure your drain covers are certified to meet the most current anti-entrapment standards, such as ANSI/APSP 16 or ANSI/ASMI A112.19.8 (this will usually be marked on the cover). Finally, make sure everyone who is using your pool knows where the emergency shut-off switch is located and how to use it in case someone becomes trapped.

Tip #2 – Prevent Unintended Pool Access

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov), most young children who drown in pools were last seen in the home and had been out of sight less than five minutes.

In addition to having a fence, consider the installation of a certified pool alarm to help keep anyone from entering your pool without your knowledge. Common types of pool alarms include:

  • Surface wave sensor (floats on water surface)
  • Sub-surface disturbance sensor (mounted to the pool wall below the water surface)
  • Wristband (worn on a child’s wrist to alert parents if the child should accidentally fall into the water)

Tip #3 – Use Pool/Spa Covers Safely

Tests have shown that floating pool covers can return to their original position within as little as 10 to 20 seconds, potentially concealing or trapping a child or adult. Visit the Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention website for more information.

Don’t take chances -- Always remove covers completely before using a pool or spa. As small children and even animals can drown in even the smallest amount of water, be sure to drain standing water from the surface of your pool and spa covers, especially after rain events.

Tip #4 – Store and Use Pool Chemicals Safely

The CDC (cdc.gov) estimates that more than 4,000 visits to U.S. emergency rooms each year are due to accidents caused by the mishandling of pool chemicals.

At the start of the season, check your supply of pool chemicals and replace any that are beyond their expiration dates. When using treatment chemicals, always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep your pool and spa properly sanitized and maintained. Store chemicals in a cool, dry environment (generally below 95° F/35° C) and out of the reach of children.

Tip #5 – Always Supervise Kids

Small children require constant adult supervision around pools and spas -- there is no substitute for the watchful eye of caring adults. Establish and enforce rules for pool and spa use. Don’t allow kids to run or play games near the pool, and keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheeled toys, away from pools, as children playing with these could accidentally fall into the water. Lastly, make sure you know if anyone using your pool is a non-swimmer, especially any children.

Download our Five Steps to a Safer Pool/Spa infographic to share with friends and family.

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