Adult Supervision is Mandatory
In Florida, we enjoy sunshine and mild weather year round. Therefore, our swimming season is much longer than others in the United States. The swimming pool is very attractive to our kids at all times of year. Please have an adult designated to maintain constant visual contact with children in the pool, spa, or hot tub environment.
- Never take your eyes off a child when he or he is in or near any body of water, not even for a second.
- Installing a fence or other barrier is important, but do not rely solely on barriers, such as fences or walls. This is no substitute for adult supervision.
- Keep toys, tricycles, and other children’s playthings out of the water and away from the pool or spa.
- Do not consider your children to be “drown-proof” because you enrolled them in swimming or “waterproofing” classes.
- Do not rely on inflatable devices to keep your child afloat. These are not substitutes for adult supervision.
Drains, Suction Fittings, and Jets – Current grates and covers help prevent body or hair entrapment. Make sure that drain covers meet the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8M standard. Safety doors should be installed in all pool cleaner wall suction lines. Pools, spas, or hot tubs with drain covers that are broken, missing, or not adequately secured should not be used until the proper replacement has been installed.
It’s fun to add these amenities to your pool, but also be aware years of outdoor elements may weaken certain structures over time.
Diving – Any diving board, rock, platform or slide should be inspected prior to use to affirm that its installation conforms to applicable industry standards and government regulations.
Electrical Hazards – A licensed electrician, experienced in swimming pools and hot tubs, should inspect your equipment to make sure everything is properly grounded, bonded, and protected by proper GFCI circuits according to Article 680 of the National Electric Code.
Ladders, Steps and Handrails – Make sure there are adequate safe-entry and safe-exit methods in both ends of the pool and two sides of the hot tub or spa.
Layers of Protection
As more swimming pools are built and more people enjoy them, the incidence of near-drownings and drownings continues to increase. Only by knowing the proper and safe use of the swimming pool can these tragedies be avoided.
Primarily, be aware that the pool should not be inaccessible to children without the assistance of an adult. This means that there should be a self-locking gate, a self-locking door if the pool is adjacent to the house with no fence in between, and an automatic safety cover that is secured on all sides of the pool and can support the weight of several adults. Remember that no matter how many barriers exist around the pool area, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR CONSTANT DIRECT ADULT SUPERVISION. It only takes a few seconds for a child to fall into the swimming pool and drown. Also, this is NOT limited to children. Anyone who is not able to swim is in danger of drowning if he or she falls into the pool. Under no circumstances should anyone not able to swim be allowed in the pool area unsupervised.
Make sure your pool or spa area meets all necessary barrier requirements such as a fence, wall or safety cover that guards against unsupervised access, particularly by young children.
Make sure the safety barrier is always in place when the pool or spa is not in use.
- Fencing: Isolate the swimming pool with a minimum four-foot-high enclosure. Make sure doors leading to the pool or spa area are self-closing and self latching, or are equipped with exit alarms, and are never propped open. Gates should have self-closing, self-latching mechanisms. Latches should be out of reach of young children and kept in proper working order.
- Safety Covers: An impenetrable covering that completely covers the pool, spa, or hot tub will prevent access to the water when there is not supervision.
- Alarms: Alarms are available for doors, fences, in pools, and as a clip-on for children. Alarms detect unwanted entrances to your pool, spa, or hot tub.
- Rope and Float Line: Place these across your pool to alert swimmers to the separation of the deep end from the shallow end of the pool.
- Rescue Equipment: Equipment such as a life ring and shepherd’s hook should be placed near the pool in an easily accessible spot.
- Posted Emergency Information: Learn how to administer lifesaving techniques to children, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Post all CPR, other emergency information, and warning signs, as well as the emergency phone number – 911 – near the pool, spa, or hot tub.
- Outside Telephone: Be sure to have a telephone in case you need to summon help.
A number of safety devices and tools are available to make the pool area safe and enjoyable. These include signs for pool safety and rules, life rings to throw to a person in trouble, “shepherd’s hooks” to use to extract an incapacitated person from the water, buoys and ropes to divide the shallow end from the deep end of a swimming pool, and alarms which emit a loud noise in the event someone were to fall into the pool. For more details on these and more safety devices, consult your nearest pool retail showroom.
American Pools And Spas is strongly committed to reducing the number of drowning and near-drowning accidents so we have printed these helpful safety tips provided by the National Swimming Pool Safety Committee.