The safety of public swimming pools in Hamilton County is a priority for sanitarians in Hamilton County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division. A licensing, inspection and education program helps ensure the safety of Hamilton County swimmers whether they’re enjoying a public pool or playing in their own backyard.
Educational information for pool operators and staff
The following information and materials from CDC may be useful to area pool operators and pool staff. All of these materials may be retrieved by visiting the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Web site.
The following posters may be printed and posted poolside to educate your pool users and staff about healthy swimming practices.
- Six “PLEAs” for Healthy Swimming
- Why Not Wash Your Hands?
- There are some things you would rather NOT share
The CDC’s Healthy Swimming Web site also contains information that will help your aquatics staff understand what to do if there is a fecal accident in your pool. These materials can be accessed by clicking here. If you are a pool operator and have additional questions about proper pool disinfection procedures, please contact the Health District’s Environmental Health Division at (513) 946-7832.
Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Law
This new law is aimed at reducing the 260 pool and spa drownings each year involving children younger than 5 and suction entrapment deaths and injuries, by making pools and spas safer, securing the environment around them, and educating consumers and industry on pool safety.
The law specifies that by December 19, 2008, swimming pool and spa drain covers available for purchase in the U.S. MUST meet specific requirements. Additionally, public swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs MUST meet requirements for installation of compliant drain covers. In certain instances, public pools and spas MUST have additional devices or systems designed to prevent suction entrapment.
Educational information for swimmers
Safety items to look for at swimming pools (at hotels, spas and community centers, etc.):
- Clean, clear water
- Strong chlorine odor (could indicate ineffective chlorination)
- Visible safety equipment (reach pole, life preserver, emergency phone)
- Presence of lifeguard
Simple Pool Safety Tips
- Make sure there is adult supervision
- Never swim alone
- Never drink alcohol during or just before swimming, boating or water skiing
- Never chew gum or eat while swimming, diving or playing in water
- Learn to swim
- Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
- Check the water depth before entering
Childhood drownings and near-drownings often occur when a child is left alone, even for a few seconds. Young children tend not to splash or make noise when in distress in the water and usually drown silently.
Where do children drown?
- Children under age one: bathtubs, buckets, toilets
- Children 1 – 4: swimming pools, hot tubs, spas
- Children 5 – 14: swimming pools, open water (lakes and rivers)
Using rubber pants, swim pants or swim diapers may be a way to reduce fecal contamination of recreational water by infants and toddlers. These products may prevent solid stool from getting into the water, but they are not leak proof, and have not been tested. They most likely can not prevent softened stool or diarrhea from leaking into the pool.
Six “PLEAs” for Healthy Swimming
The CDC recommends six things everyone should do to prevent germs from entering a swimming pool and to prevent the spread of disease.
Practice these six “PLEAs” to keep germs out of the pool and your community:
- Please don’t swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in diapers. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
- Please don’t swallow the pool water. In fact, avoid getting water in your mouth.
- Please practice good hygiene. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
- Please take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.
- Please change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces and objects in and around the pool and spread illness.
- Please wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Everyone has invisible amounts of fecal matter on their bottoms that ends up in the pool.
Educational information for homeowners with swimming pools
Homeowners with backyard swimming pools should take precautions to prevent poolside injuries and drownings. According to the CDC, there were 3,306 unintentional fatal drownings in the United States in 2003. The risk of drowning or other water-related injuries is especially high among young children.
- Make sure an adult is constantly watching children swimming or playing in or around the water.
- Never swim alone or in unsupervised places and always swim with a buddy.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming or other water activities, or while supervising children who are swimming.
- Enroll yourself and your children in swimming classes.
- Learn CPR.
- Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings,” “noodles,” or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets.
- If you have a swimming pool at your home:
Install a four-foot fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
Toys should be removed from the pool immediately after use.
Pool Safety Quiz
Test your knowledge! Take our Pool Safety Quiz!