Pool Safety Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe This Summer
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Pool Safety Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe This Summer

Pools are a great place to spend time with your family, but they can be dangerous

June 14, 2018

Pools and water parks are a great place to spend time with family, swim and cool off, but both have risks that should be taken seriously, especially when you're using a public facility.

Pool Inspections

Water facilities are regularly inspected to ensure that they meet current safety standards and that pool equipment is being well maintained.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dug into inspection data collected in 2013 in the five states with the most public pools and hot tubs: Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas. In total, researchers looked at about 84,200 routine inspections of more than 48,600 public aquatic venues, including hot tubs, water playgrounds, and other places where people swim in treated water.

According to the CDC, almost 80 percent of inspections found at least one violation and 1 in 8 inspections resulted in closing the facility because of serious health and safety violations. Kiddie pools made up the highest proportion of closures with 1 in 5 closing immediately.

Improper pH (15 percent), safety equipment (13 percent), and disinfectant concentration (12 percent) made up the bulk of the reported violations.

Complete Your Own Inspection

If you plan on visiting a public pool facility this summer, the CDC has a few tips for doing your own safety inspection.

  • Aquatic staff is generally required to test chemical levels several times a day, but that information isn't usually viewable to the public. If you question whether a facility has appropriate chemical levels, the CDC recommends purchasing test strips to test the water yourself. The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8, chlorine of at least 1 ppm and bromine of at least 3ppm.
  • Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Clear water allows lifeguards and other swimmers to see swimmers underwater who might need help.
  • Check that drain covers appear to be secured and in good repair. Swimmers can get trapped underwater by a loose or broken drain cover.
  • Confirm that a lifeguard is on duty. If not, check whether safety equipment like a rescue ring with rope or pole is available.

Pools and Kids

Kids love pools, but pools can be a dangerous place for kids.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which also runs the government's pool safety campaign, offers the following tips to keep kids safe in both public and residential pools:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water. Lifeguards are a wonderful asset to keeping everyone safe at a public pool, but their attention is on all swimmers, not just your children. It's important to remain vigilant even when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Teach children how to swim. Children can start taking swimming lessons as infants, but children are never too old to learn how to swim.
  • Teach children to stay away from drains.
  • Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa to prevent children from falling in and drowning.
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.