Commission (CPSC) report There’s nothing like splashing around in a pool on a hot summer day or relaxing in a spa after a hard day at work.  Tragically, however, according to a 2012 Consumer Product Safety , each year an average of 390 children under the age of fifteen drown in pools or spas.

Sadly, many of these deaths are preventable. By taking a few simple steps, parents and pool owners can ensure the safety of children and adults around swimming pools and spas.

Pool Safety

  • Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate.  If your neighbors have pools, ask them to do the same to protect the children in the neighborhood.
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
  • Place a lockable safety cover on the pool and/or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access.
  • Maintain that pool and spa covers are in good working order.
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm. This is an alarm that will sound if anyone enters the pool.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers. If you are unsure if yours is compliant, check with your pool maintenance provider or local pool and spa store.
  • Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.  This is also important for visibility – you should be able to see clearly to the floor of the pool in case someone is underwater and in need of rescue. Children have been known to drown in murky pool water because they were not seen in time for rescue.

Child Safety

  • Supervision children at all times when around the pool.
  • Always stay in arm’s reach of young children.
  • Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool.
  • Never allow anyone to swim alone. This is even a good rule for adults to follow.
  • Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a life jacket.
  • Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” and “no running in the pool area.”
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Teach children basic water safety tips.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends, caregivers, and neighbors.

 Safety Skills

  • Ensure everyone in the home knows how to swim by enrolling them in age-appropriate swim classes. This includes adults.
  • Provide appropriate safety equipment.
  • Have everyone take water safety, first aid and CPR courses.

CPSC recommends that you create a pool safety toolkit to have near your pool or spa in case of an emergency. Within it should be:

  • A first aid kit.
  • A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover, if needed.
  • A charged portable telephone to call 911.
  • A flotation device.

If you or a love one is injured in or around another’s pool you may have a liability claim on your hands.