entrapment prevention in swimming pools

Entrapment Prevention in Swimming Pools

Many people believe that the only thing they must worry about regarding pool safety is drowning prevention. However, something known as drain entrapment occurs every year, seriously injuring or even killing people in the process. From 2008 through 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that 39 victims were either injured or killed in these serious accidents, 2 fatalities in which were children aged 6 to 14. Usually people will not think of drain entrapment when they are in a swimming pool, hot tub, or bathtub. These incidents occur when a body gets held against a pool or spa drain by the force of suction or when clothes, jewelry, hair, or a limb is caught in a faulty drain.

Some of the most common places where these incidents occur are children’s public wading pools, other pools designed for young children, and in-ground spas with flat drain grates. Here are some of the most common hazards that may take place:

  • A body part could cover a drain and be held down by the intensity of the suction.
  • If you have long hair, it could become caught in a faulty drain cover.
  • Limbs such as arms, legs, feet, or fingers could become lodged in a suction opening.
  • Mechanical elements such as jewelry, bathing suits, or other materials could become entangled in a drain cover.
  • Evisceration or Disembowelment could occur when suction draws out the intestines and organs.
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Preventing Entrapment Injuries and Fatalities 

Manufacturers as well as pool owners can benefit from understanding how to protect themselves as well as children and other people who enjoy spending time in the pool. This can be done by remembering some important steps that can help prevent entrapment. Here are some of those easy-to-follow steps:

  • Children should be kept away from pool drains, pipes and other openings at all times to avoid entrapment and entanglement.
  • Make sure that there are no loose items such as long hair, clothing, or jewelry dangling when in a swimming pool or spa.
  • Make sure that there are compliant drain covers.
  • The location of the electrical cut-off switch for the pool or spa pump should be marked.
  • Know where the pump is and how to turn it off.
  • Use one of the following: A safety vacuum release system, suction-limiting vent system, gravity drainage system, automatic pump shut-off system, or drain disablement.

Unfortunately, there will always be cases of entrapment as not all accidents will be easily prevented. Here are some steps to take if somebody becomes entrapped:

  • Turn off the pump immediately.
  • Do not attempt to just pull the person away from the powerful suction of the drain or grate. Instead, insert your fingers or a small object between the drain and the person’s body. This will help break the seal and then roll them off until they’re free.
  • Always keep a portable telephone nearby to call for help if needed.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist if a pool emergency takes place.

Being knowledgeable in the pool or spa can save lives, like the ones that are taken every year through these unfortunate accidents. If you have become victim of an entrapment and suffered personal injuries by the fault of another party, you may have a case. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today for more information.