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Now that Memorial Day has marked the official beginning of summer, thousands are heading for the local public pool for heat relief. But how to best protect your family from pool dangers? According to the CPSC, from 2009 to 2011, there was an annual average of 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries for children younger than 15. Following a few steps can help avoid emergencies involving your family.

First, make sure you are prepared for pool safety by learning or refreshing your CPR and first aid skills. Always maintain constant adult supervision of children, and young children should take swimming lessons so they can survive if they fall in the water.

Public pool and spa owners and operators should follow local, state and federal regulations to ensure the safety of their facilities.

Beyond your efforts, determine whether the public pool is using appropriate water safety practices. The following questions, provided by the government at, should be posed when you and your family visit a public pool:

  • Are there fences that limit access to the pool and spa?
  • Has the pool been inspected to ensure it is compliant with federal and local laws and regulations?
  • Are the new safety drain covers being used in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act?
  • Do pool and spa pumps appear to be running?
  • Is there life-saving equipment such as life rings and reaching poles available for use?
  • Is there a lifeguard at the pool or spa to watch children and adults?
  • Are you watching your own child or children when they’re in or around the water?
  • Are there water safety rules posted in a visible area for adults and children to review?
  • Is there sufficient staff to monitor the pool or spa when it’s in heavy use?
  • Is the staff trained and certified in first aid and emergency response?

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