Some free public pools across America should be getting much safer for kids thanks to $2 million worth of government funding on its way this year.
Beyond drownings among kids who don’t know how to swim, deaths and injuries have occurred among young swimmers due to entrapment in suction drains at the bottom of pools. Nine deaths and 63 injuries have been attributed to suction entrapment between 1997 and 2007, according to poolsafety.gov.
Officials are aiming to reduce the overall number of injuries and deaths caused by accidents at pools including those caused by suction entrapment in pool drains. All pools and spas are already supposed to have drain covers to avoid entrapment, whether they’re free public pools or private, members-only health club pools.
Pools in states that also require a fence or other barrier completely surrounding public pools, a pool cover or door alarms are eligible to receive funds to meet safety requirements or for added safety measures. Pools that don’t have these and other safety measures in place can apply for federal funds in order get them installed. Pools that don’t meet safety requirements face as much as $15 million in fines.
States can apply for these funds, which will be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, until May 28.
Additionally, regulators are also aiming to increase public education on the need for adult supervision of kids at pools. Overall, nearly 300 kids younger than 5 drown in pools and spas every year, according to safety regulators who’ve set aside the funds, which will be spent over the course of 2010 and 2011, according to the Pool and Spa Safety Act.