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Pool and Drain Safety Tips

Having a swimming pool is a dream come true for many, but it also comes with responsibilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, very young children ages 1-4 are at the greatest risk of drowning. In most cases, the little ones were at home and had slipped outside and into the pool without anyone noticing.

Pool Safety Applies to Everyone

Even older children and adults can be at risk, not only for drowning, but for slips and falls on wet surfaces. Pool safety advocates say it’s important to build “layers of protection” around your home swimming pool. If someone gets past one safety system, a backup can help prevent a tragedy — and protect you as a homeowner.

Here are some additional tips to follow:

  • Install a fence that’s at least 4 feet tall with a locking gate around the pool.
  • Remove ladders and accessories when the pool is not in use, as well as any toys or flotation devices that a small child might attempt to reach for. Placing a solid cover on the surface can provide a barrier to accidental stumbles and falls for very young children (while keeping your water free of debris).
  • Never leave children unattended around a pool – even for a minute. When kids are in the pool, a responsible adult should watch them at all times.
  • Inexperienced swimmers should wear a life vest.
  • Invest in pool safety equipment, such as a life hook, life rings and safety rope. In addition, post safety rules and be consistent with enforcing the rules with both family members and guests.
  • Have everyone in the house take first aid and CPR courses.
  • Consider a motion-activated alarm that alerts you when someone opens the gate and enters the water when you’re not outside.
  • Install a back door alarm if you have very young children, to alert you should they slip outside unnoticed. You can also purchase special bracelets for kids that alert you when it gets wet. 
  • Limit alcohol use around the pool area, as drinking can affect balance, coordination and judgment. In fact, drinking was a factor in half the swimming pool drowning deaths of teenagers and adults, according to the CDC.

Pool Drain Safety Tips

Another area of your pool to be extra cautious of is your pool drain. Pool drains can cause injuries—and worse—when a person’s body, limbs, hair, jewelry or clothes become entangled with a drain. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do when it comes to pool drain safety to keep you and your guests safe. They include:

  • Investing in a good drain cover. In 2008, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act that mandates that all public pools in the United States be equipped with anti-entrapment drain covers. But the law does not apply to private pools.

    Make sure your private pool has a good drain cover. The newer models have more vents than older ones. They are also raised up above the pool floor as opposed to being flush against the bottom.
  • Installing a Safety Vacuum Release System. This device automatically shuts off the pool’s pump if it detects that something is blocking the pool drain.
  • Keeping loose items out of the pool. Remove jewelry and tie up long hair before you get in the pool. Also make sure to wear bathing attire that’s appropriate for the pool—baggy clothing is a pool drain safety hazard.
  • Knowing how to shut off the pump. Clearly mark the pump shut-off switch and make sure you know how to shut it off.
  • Keeping on an eye on things. No one should swim alone. And this is especially true when it comes to kids, who are the most common victims of pool drain entanglements. Also make sure at least one adult who knows proper first aid is keeping an eye on everyone. Finally, encourage kids to stay away from the pool drain area and any other suction areas.
  • Having the proper safety equipment close at hand. This includes life rings and reaching poles.
  • Fencing off your pool. A fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate will help keep kids and anyone else from swimming unsupervised.

If someone becomes entrapped in a pool drain, the CPSC recommends immediately turning off the pump. Don’t try to pull the person away—instead, insert fingers or a small object between the drain and the person’s body to break the seal and then roll them off until they’re free.

Float Worry Free

Contact your local ERIE Agent to find out about insuring your home if you have a pool or have recently put one in.  

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ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.