Whether you're splashing in a public pool or relaxing in your backyard hot tub, be aware of potential pool dangers to help ensure your family and friends stay safe while swimming in a pool.
Potential dangers of swimming pools.
- Diving boards, slides and steps. Many pools have diving boards, slides and steps. While everyone enjoys the standard belly flop and cannonball, it’s important to make sure these water entry features are right for your pool.
- Is your pool deep enough for a diving board? It’s essential that the water depth of the pool is adequate to allow for safe diving practices. If someone were to dive headfirst into a shallow pool, they could sustain a severe injury. The American Red Cross recommends a minimum of nine feet of water depth for head first diving.
- Slides require a certain depth in the pool, too. Who doesn’t love sliding into the water? While there are minimum water depth requirements for slides, the biggest danger is from slips, trips and falls. We’ve all seen people go down the slide, swim to the side, get out and go right back down the slide. Because of the water on the deck, concrete, or grass surrounding the pool making your way back to the slide can be treacherous. Remind everyone to take it slow and walk to the slide.
- Does it have handrails for steps? Also, the pool steps and slide steps can be very slick when wet which could result in an injury from falling off the slide. Make sure that your pool and slide is equipped with hand rails and that the sides aren’t open enough for a little one to slip through.
- Pool toys are an unexpected potential danger. As much fun as pool toys can be, they need to be used under close supervision. If there is a person in the pool in need of life saving assistance, pool toys can obstruct them from view of the person watching them. They can also cause a person to flip over and they may be unable to flip the flotation device over resulting in injury.
- Pool drains are a hidden entrapment. The strong suction from the drain can grab clothing, hair and even body parts and hold a person against the grate.
- Make sure the drain cover is safety-compliant. The 2008 Pool & Spa Safety Act specifies the type of drain covers that reduce the potential for entrapment.
- Install a Safety Vacuum Release System. It will shut off a pool or spa pump if a blockage is detected.
- Watch children carefully. Smaller bodies can be more susceptible to pool suction. In fact, a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 72 percent of drain entrapments happened to kids 14 years and younger. Teach children pool drain safety and monitor them closely while they're in the water.
- Keep a phone nearby so someone can call 911 in an emergency.
- Learn a release technique. According to Poolsafely.gov, after turning off the pump and calling 911, you should slip your fingers between the victim and the drain, and then roll them off. (Do not yank the person. This could cause an injury.)
- Pool chemicals. Pool chemicals can be harmful if ingested or mixed together in the wrong way. Keep the chemicals in a location that is not easily accessible to children. And, make sure to research the types of chemicals needed for your pool and store according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Electrical equipment. Water and electricity is a dangerous mix. It’s not easy to detect if the water has a charge just from looking at the pool, spend the extra time ensuring all electrical components near your pool are adequately grounded.