It’s summer, and if you have kids, that probably means water. Water is great fun, but it can also be dangerous. When Samantha was three, she was playing in Sean’s aunt’s hot tub. She was standing on the bench where you sit and could reach just fine. She stepped off the ledge and went under. There was no sound. There was no splashing. She was two inches below the surface and couldn’t get herself up. If I hadn’t been right there to pull her out, I’m afraid of what would have happened. The look in her eyes still haunts me to this day.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share some safety tips passed on to me by NSF International.
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 are properly installed and meet the current anti-entrapment standards set forth in the Pool and Spa Safety Act to help prevent body parts and hair from becoming trapped. Covers that meet today’s standards will display ANSI/APSP 16 or ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 on the cover’s exterior.
- 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.
The following .pdf contains more statistics and information about drains and entrapment.
Summer time is fun, but we all need to stay safe.