TIPS ON POOL, SPA, AND HOT TUB SAFETY
From the International Code Council
Pools and spas are great for play, exercise and therapy. However, an alarming number of water- related deaths and injuries occur in and around pools each year. Properly following building safety codes can help prevent such tragedies and ensure family and friends have a safer, more enjoyable experience when using pools, spas and hot tubs.
Every year, more than 250 children under the age of five drawn in swimming pools and more than 2,700 children seek medical treatment for pool-related accidents—mostly in backyard pools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 7S percent of swimming pool accident victims were missing for five minutes or less when they were found drowned or in serious trouble. One or both parents were supervising victims when the swimming pool accident occurred.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Building safety codes are life savers. International Code Council codes include specific provisions to make pools and spas safe. For example:
- Install a fence at least four-feet-high around the pool area.
- Install a self-latching gate or door in the fence to make pool areas inaccessible to children and unauthorized swimmers.
- Spas and hot tubs also should have a similar fence or an approved, lockable safety cover.
Install a door alarm. When the door or gate is opened, the alarm sounds and acts as an early warning device.
Install a pool alarm to detect accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. The alarm provides an immediate warning.
SAVING, ENHANCING LIVES THROUGH SAFETY CODES
Install either an automatic or manually operated, approved safety cover to completely block access to water in the pool, spa or hot tub. Never allow anyone to stand or play on a pool cover.
DRAIN (SUCTION OUTLET) CONVERS/GRATES
All pool and hot tub drains (suction outlets) must have a cover or grate that meets industry standards for suction fittings (ANSI/ASME A112.19.8M). A cover protects people from entrapment, including suction. Without the cover, some part of a person’s body (especially hair) may be trapped, causing injury or drowning. If a cover is broken, loose or missing, the pool should be closed immediately until the drain cover is replaced or repaired by a professional. No one should be allowed to play with a drain cover or near a drain.
Pools and spas with drains (suction outlets) should have multiple outlets, spaced a minimum of 3 feet apart.
VACUUM RELEASE OR VENTED SYSTEMS
Pools and spas with a single or multiple outlets or drains must have one of the following: a safety vacuum release system (SVRS); an engineered vent system; a gravity drainage system; or other safety features that comply with industry standards (ANSI/ASME A112.19.17).
POOL CLEANER FITTINGS
Locate pressure cleaner fittings at least 6 inches, and not greater
than 12 inches, below the minimum operational water level, or as an attachment to the skimmer.
OTHER SAFETY TIPS
Building safety codes protect children and adults in pools, hot tubs and spas. Other safety measures include:
- Alert adult supervision of children is essential in pools, hot tubs and spas at all times. There is no substitute for adult supervision to ensure child safety in the water.
- Assign an adult to watch the pool at all times when children are present, making sure there are no distractions such as talking with friends or cooking on a grill.
- The assigned adult must be watching the children at all times.
- Don’t assume guests or their children can swim. Ask and observe.
- Don’t leave toys in or around the pool area.
- Toddlers and infants should have physical contact with an adult at all times while in the pool area.
- Infants and small children should have constant supervision.
- Make sure all doors and gates leading to the pool or spa area are securely closed when the pool is not in use.
- Do not allow anyone impaired by alcohol or drugs to use the pool.
Keep a phone within easy reach of the pool area for emergency calls. Post local emergency numbers in the pool area. Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. A pole, rope and personal-flotation devices are recommended.
Make sure at least one adult supervising activities around the pool has cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.
- Teach your children to swim.
- Post CPR instructions in the pool area.
- Post basic Rules for Pool Safety in a visible spot near the pool.
Clean and clear water is essential for safe pool, spa and hot tub use. If you cannot see the bottom of the pool at its deepest point, the pool should not be used and you should contact your pool professional.
There should be no electrical devices in the pool, spa and hot tub area unless they are installed, maintained and inspected by qualified professionals. Electrical devices also need to be protected by aground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
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