Whether you're splashing in a public pool or relaxing in your backyard hot tub, be aware of a potential danger below the surface: the drain. Its strong suction can grab clothing, hair and even body parts and hold a person against the grate.
To avoid injury or drowning, consider these pool safety tips:
- 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 (SVRS). It will shut off a pool or spa pump if a blockage is detected. At the urging of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, many hotels have installed this safety device in their pools.
- 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. After turning off the pump and calling 911, slip your fingers between the victim and the drain, and then roll them off, advises Poolsafely.gov. (Do not yank the person. This could cause an injury.)