No. We're not talking about the common childhood fear of being sucked down the drain in the bathtub. We're talking about something much more realistic and much less ever thought about.
Do you own your own pool? Do you know about drain entrapments and how to prevent them?
You think you're quite safe, but there's always more to learn and know and, every family benefits from adding new safety steps to their routine at the pool or spa. These additional safety steps could prove especially useful when it comes to hazards with entrapment.
A drain entrapment happens when a body is held against a pool or spa drain by the force of the pool’s suction or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair or an arm or leg is caught in a faulty drain.
Children’s public wading pools, other pools designed specifically for young children, and in-ground spas that have flat drain grates and single main drain systems hold the greatest risk of entrapment.
The best way to prevent these hazards is to be aware of them ahead of time, and to use care when in a pool or spa. The main entanglement and entrapment hazards include:
- Body: A body part, often the torso or bottom, covers a drain and is held down by the intensity of the suction
- Hair: Long hair is tangled in a faulty drain cover
- Limbs: Arms, legs, feet or fingers are stuck in an opening with suction
- Mechanical: Jewelry, bathing suits or other materials are caught in a drain cover
- Evisceration/disembowelment: When suction draws out the intestines and organs
As early as the 1970s, CPSC staff began investigating reported incidents of pool and spa suction entrapment. A recent CPSC report shows that from 2008 through 2012, CPSC staff were aware of 39 victims of circulation entrapments, including 2 deaths, both children ages 6 and 14, 32 injured and 5 with no injuries.