Product Liability

government pushes pool industry to step up safety awareness

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that it formed a “strategic partnership” with the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) in an effort to drive down the number of swimming pool-related deaths and injuries that occur every year, especially to children.

The CPSC announced the partnership at the International Pool, Spa, & Patio Expo in Las Vegas. According to Kathleen Reilly, CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign director, the purpose of the alliance is to develop and implement a public safety campaign that it hopes will keep children away from faultily installed or defective drain covers and raise awareness of the other dangers lurking in and around inviting swimming pools.

In swimming pools and spas, a simple “anti-entrapment” cover over powerful drains is often the only thing preventing children from being held underwater by powerful suction.

Earlier this year, the CPSC voted 3-2 to interpret current pool safety laws as not requiring anti-entrapment devices on certain pools that already have anti-entrapment covers. Two mothers who watched their children die after becoming trapped underwater by the powerful drain suction pushed for the requirement of backup safety devices, but their efforts were undermined by the pool lobby.

Instead, the CPSC is counting on its new education and outreach program to make a positive difference during the next pool season.

Starting with the International Pool, Spa, & Patio Expo, APSP will provide “Pool Safely” materials at industry events, in publications, on industry videos, on its website, and through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. APSP also will develop a special “Pool Safely” page within the safety section of its web site, where visitors can find information on the campaign and order campaign materials.

The Pool Safely campaign was designed to raise awareness, support industry compliance with safety standards, and improve safety at pools and spas. The campaign was launched last May in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Three-hundred-eighty-five children age 15 and younger die on average in pool and spa-related drowning incidents each year. Most of those children — about 78 percent — are younger than 5 years old. From 2007 to 2009, about 4,200 children under 15 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for pool submersion injuries.

For more information about the CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign, check out the video introduction and campaign website .