Family Pool and Spa Safety

Family Pool and Spa Safety – Spa and pool safety tips for families who use pools and spas on vacation or own their own backyard pool or spas.

I was recently invited on a conference call held by the CPSC, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The topic was the “Pool Safely” initiative. The conference call discussed how CPSC is trying to save the lives of children from drowning in pools and spas. Tragically, drowning is the leading cause of death among children younger than five. In fact, so far this year, there have been 81 child drownings and 96 near-drownings all across the country, and the average age is 3 years old.

Pool Safely is a public education effort designed to raise awareness of the drowning risks around pools and spas and give you simple solutions to save lives.

Pool Safely lists the following steps families should adopt to promote pool and spa safety

Family Pool and Spa Safety

  1. Staying close, being alert, and watching children in and around the pool
  2. Learning and practicing water safety skills, know cpr, and know how to swim
  3. Have appropriate equipment for your pool or spa

With regard to being alert and watching the children, a designated adult should be responsible at all times to stay close to the edge of the pool and watch the kids. The adult should have a cell phone on hand for emergencies, but should not use it otherwise while watching the children. Conduct head counts, and if a child goes missing, always look in the pool or spa first.

Family Pool and Spa Safety PSA

Appropriate equipment for your pool or spa is referencing that private pools should always have a fence around it with a lock on the door, and/or an alarm on it. You may not notice your child wandering outside and heading to the pool. Also, don’t leave toys in the water for kids to lean over and try to reach them. Install a lockable safety cover on your spa. Ensure that your pool or spa has compliant drain covers and ask your pool service provider if you don’t know.

Drains in hot tubs and pools can cause a vacuum effect that is so strong, it can disembowel or drown a child. Necklaces, long hair, or a child’s body can be suctioned to the drain at the bottom of the pool. Congress now requires that there has to be a backup (shutoff) system or mulitiple drains. All public access pools have to adhere to these requirements outlined in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. On Dec. 17, 2007, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) was signed into law. This important child safety law became effective in December 2008.

Parents should feel comfortable calling the operators of the public pools to ask if they comply with the safety requirements.

A couple other miscellaneous safety tips regarding Family Pool and Spa Safety include

  • No child under 12 should be in a hot tub or spa
  • All children should learn how to float from very early on
  • Remove ladders from above ground pools when not in use
  • Always inform all people prior to getting into the pool to avoid the drain

In its role as the lead agency implementing and enforcing the Act, CPSC is working with the pool and spa safety community to encourage the use of multiple safety steps, such as fencing around pools, constant supervision of children and requiring anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices on all public pools and spas.

In addition to pool safety steps, the CPSC also introduced the exciting new website www.SaferProducts.gov. This site is home for product safety complaints, where you can report product safety incidents and search for safety reports submitted by other consumers. This website has vital safety information that has never been readily available to the public until now. People can report products that had safety issues so you can find out before you buy. It can be done confidentially. So far 1500 products are listed on the site’s database.

For more info on Family Pool and Spa Safety, visit www.poolsafely.gov

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