Caring for Our Children (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 Pool Drain Covers

All covers for the main drain and other suction ports of swimming and wading pools should be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory in accordance with ASME/ANSI standard “A112.19.8: Standard for Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs,” and should be used under conditions that do not exceed the approved maximum flow rate, be securely anchored using manufacturer-supplied parts installed per manufacturer’s specifications, be in good repair, and be replaced at intervals specified by manufacturer. Facilities with one outlet per pump, or multiple outlets per pump with less than thirty-six inches center-to-center distance for two outlets, must be equipped with a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) meeting the ASME/ANSI standard “A112.19.17: Manufactured Safety Vacuum Release Systems for Residential and Commercial Swimming Pool, Spas, Hot Tub and Wading Pool Suction Systems” or ASTM International (ASTM) standard “F2387-04: Standard Specification for Manufactured SVRS for Swimming Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs” standards, as required by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, Section 1404(c)(1)(A)(I) (1,2).
In some instances, children have drowned as a result of their body or hair being entrapped or seriously injured by sitting on drain grates (3). Drain covers mitigate the five types of entrapment: hair, body, limb, evisceration, and mechanical (jewelry). Use of flat- or flush-mount covers/grates is prohibited. Use of drain covers under conditions that exceed the maximum flow rate can pose a hazard for entrapment. When drain covers are broken or missing, the body can be entrapped. When a child is playing with an open drain (one with the cover missing), a child can be entrapped by inserting a hand or foot into the pipe and being trapped by the resulting suction. Hair entrapment typically involves females with long, fine hair who are underwater with the head near the suction inlet; they become entrapped when their hair sweeps into and around the cover, and not because of the strong suction forces. Use of a SVRS will not mitigate hair, limb, and mechanical entrapment.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 2007. Standard for suction fittings for use in swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs. ANSI/ASME A112.19.8. Washington, DC: ANSI.
  2. U.S. Congress. 2007. Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. 15 USC 8001.
  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 2005. Guidelines for entrapment hazards: Making pools and spas safer. Washington, DC: CPSC.