Caring for Our Childen (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.3 Water Play Areas (Pools, Etc.)

6.3.1 Access to and Safety Around Bodies of Water

6.3.1.4: Safety Covers for Swimming Pools


When not in use, in-ground and above-ground swimming pools should be covered with a safety cover that meets or exceeds the ASTM International (ASTM) standard “F1346-03: Standard performance specification for safety covers and labeling requirements for all covers for swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs” (2).
RATIONALE
Fatal injuries have occurred when water has collected on top of a secured pool cover. The depression caused by the water, coupled with the smoothness of the cover material, has proved to be a deadly trap for some children (1). The ASTM standard now defines a safety cover “as a barrier (intended to be completely removed before water use) for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, or wading pools, attendant appurtenances and/or anchoring mechanisms which reduces--when properly labeled, installed, used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s published instructions--the risk of drowning of children under five years of age, by inhibiting their access to the contained body of water, and by providing for the removal of any substantially hazardous level of collected surface water” (2).

Safety covers reduce the possibility of contamination by animals, birds, and insects.

COMMENTS
Facilities should check whether the manufacturers warrant their pool covers as meeting ASTM standards. See ASTM standard “F1346-03.” Some jurisdictions require four-sided fencing around swimming pools; the facility should follow the requirements of their jurisdiction. Best practice is four-sided fencing.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
6.3.1.1 Enclosure of Bodies of Water
REFERENCES
  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 2005. Guidelines for entrapment hazards: Making pools and spas safer. Washington, DC: CPSC. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/injviosaf/Documents/DrowningEntrapmentHazards.pdf.
  2. ASTM International (ASTM). 2003. Standard performance specification for safety covers and labeling requirements for all covers for swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs. ASTM F1346-03. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM.