Although Summer 2019 is only a memory now, there are still plenty of opportunities to swim in indoor pools and relax in whirlpool spas. But parents should be aware of the potential dangers their children can face in those environments.
Any source of water carries a drowning risk. But pools and spas have heightened risks of drain entrapment that can prove lethal to children and adults as well.
Why it is so dangerous
A particular risk is that long hair can get caught up in the spa’s or pool’s suction fitting drain. An adult might have the strength to break away from the suction, even while losing hair, or scalp tissue, in the process.
But few children will be strong enough to break the suction’s deadly grip. Instead, their heads will be held beneath the surface until they lose consciousness and drown.
It’s not just hair that poses risks
It’s certainly prudent to pin up your hair before swimming or soaking to reduce this risk. But, especially in older or poorly maintained spas and pools, this might not be sufficient to avert a tragic disaster.
Intestinal evisceration can result from your body parts coming in contact with the suction from the drain, which is usually located on the bottom of the pool or spa. This has resulted in more than one death, and usually affects children.
Since these events occurred, legislation was passed to increase the safety measures associated with drainage systems on spas and pools. Newer models should be nearly risk-free. But older models still can pose hazards, especially those in private homes where no inspections are mandated.
What should parents do?
All children should be closely supervised whenever they are in or even near water, e.g., whirlpool spas and pools. There is absolutely no substitution for parental supervision.
Parents should also instruct their children never to play with, near or on the pool’s drainage or water circulation systems. Make sure that kids with long hair wear it up in a bun or cover it with a bathing cap before entering the water.
If your child winds up injured in a pool or spa in New Jersey, you may be able to seek financial compensation to cover their medical costs and other expenses.