Swimming pools and spas are great places for families to have fun and spend time together. Still, it’s important to be aware of drowning hazards and safety precautions.
Pool and spa submersions an drownings can happen quickly, before anyone has time to notice. For children, drowning can happen in the amount of time it takes to answer the telephone.
To bring awareness to pool and spa safety, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has enacted a national public education campaign, entitled Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives.
The campaign is a call-to-action for consumers to practice proven water safety tips. The objective of the campaign is to reduce childhood drownings, non-fatal submersion injuries and entrapments.
The CPSC urges families to practice the following tips and guidelines, so you and your family can lessen the risk of tragedy and injury while still having summer fun.
Safety in Community Pools
Visiting indoor and outdoor public pools is a popular summer activity for families. In addition to following local, state, and federal regulations, you should also ask yourself the following questions when enjoying a community pool to further assess you and your children’s safety.
- Are there fences that limit access to the pool and spa?
- When was the last time the pool was inspected to make sure it meets federal and local law standards?
- Are the pool and spa pumps running?
- Is there safety equipment, such as life-rings, readily available?
- Are the new safety drain covers being used in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act?
- Is there a lifeguard on duty?
- Are there water safety rules posted visibly?
- Are you watching your children when they are around the water?
- Is a phone available in case of emergencies?
- Is there sufficient staff during high-traffic hours?
Learning Water Safety Skills
- Do you and your children know how to swim?
- Is the staff certified in first-aid and emergency response?
- Do you have current knowledge of how to perform CPR on children and adults?
- Do you know to help in case of a pool emergency?
Safety in Residential Pools
- Taking as many water safety precautions as possible is the best way to ensure a safe and fun experience. Below are ways to build on your family’s current safety practices.
Stay Close and Alert
- Always watch children when they are near a pool or spa
- keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other opening to prevent entrapments
- educate children about basic water safety tips
- Have a phone on hand at all times in case of an emergency
- If your child is missing, look in the pool or spa FIRST
Learn New Water Safety Skills
- Learn how to swim correctly, and teach your children too
- Learn to do CPR on children and adults
- Learn the basics of life-saving in case of emergency
Maintain Appropriate Pool Equipment
- Install and maintain a lockable safety cover your pool and spa
- Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool with self-closing and self-latching gates, and ask your neighbors to do the same.
- Install pool and gate alarms
- Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm
Create a Water Safety Toolkit
The CPSC recommends that you make a pool safety toolkit to keep in the pool area, to ensure that you are prepared in case the worst happens. Drowning is a preventable injury for kids, and if you put into practice prove safety behaviors, you can significantly reduce the risk of drowning for injury for your family. For your safety kit, you should include:
- a first aid kit
- a pair of scissors to cut a pool cover, hair, or other drowning hazards
- a charged cell phone to call 911
- a flotation device