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Pool & Spa Safety

A swimming pool should have a fence or barrier surrounding all four sides with self-closing and self-latching gates. If the house is part of the barrier, all doors leading from the house to the pool should be equipped with an audible alarm. Position latches out of reach of young children. Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area locked to prevent small children from getting to the pool.

Have a professional check your pool and/or hot tub regularly to make sure it is safe and in good working condition. Check to make sure drain covers are in place and not cracked or missing. Know where the cut-off switch for your pool pump located is so you can turn it off in an emergency. Be aware that consuming alcohol while using a spa or hot tub could lead to drowning. Keep the temperature of the spa/hot tub water at or below 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. During social gatherings at or near a pool, appoint a "designated watcher" to protect young children from pool accidents. Adults may take turns being the "watcher." When adults become preoccupied, children are at risk. If a child is missing, check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the pool area.

Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.

Have a telephone at poolside to avoid having to leave children unattended in or near the pool to answer a telephone elsewhere. Keep emergency numbers at the poolside telephone.

Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

Divers should observe the following precautions. Never dive into above ground pools. They are too shallow. Don't dive from the side of an in-ground pool. Enter the water feet first. Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides. Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool. Don't dive if you have been using alcohol or drugs because your reaction time may be too slow. Improper use of pool slides presents the same danger as improper diving techniques. Never slide down head first; slide down feet first only.

(NOTE: All information courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207)