Note: This blog was edited after publication to add information about accessibility regulations for operators of public pools.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an average of 390 drowning deaths occur annually among children age 15 and younger, and emergency rooms treat 5,200 pool and spa submersion injuries involving children in that age group.
Don’t let your family become a statistic; follow all safety precautions in and around the pool.
Pool Safety at Your Home
Enclose the pool –
- use a fence four feet high or higher as required by local regulations
- install self-closing and self-latching gates
- position latches out of the reach of young children
- keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area secure
- place tables and chairs away from the pool fence
- remove steps to above-ground pools when not in use
Keep a phone with emergency numbers listed near the pool, or program the numbers directly into the phone. Do not leave children unattended when you answer the telephone.
Practice “touch supervision” with children under 5 years old. Stay within an arm’s length of the child at all times. CPSC statistics show that 54 percent of pool-related fatalities in children under 5 years old from 2007-2009 (the most recent years analyzed) were the result of a lapse in adult supervision.
Do not swim during rain storms, thunder or lightning. Keep rescue equipment close, such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver. Learn CPR.
Public Pool Safety
If you manage or operate a pool for the public or for a club or organization, safety is paramount.
- Install slip-resistant surfaces around the pool.
- Include minimum and maximum depth markings on both sides and ends of the pool.
- Install a telephone with names and numbers of emergency response personnel.
- Post rules and regulations, including No Diving signs where necessary.
- Install drain covers that conform with entrapment protection standards.
- Check and log bacteria/chlorine levels daily.
- Secure pool chemicals away from the public.
- Employ certified lifeguards. For pools over 1,800 square feet, provide an elevated lifeguard chair for every 3,000 square feet of pool surface.
- Develop rules to handle inclement weather.
Managers of swimming pools, wading pools or spas for the public or for club use should be aware of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The regulations, available here, were revised in 2012.
For more information to keep your family safe while having fun in the pool, visit CPSC’s Pool Safely website.