Pool Inspectors Advise Swimmers On Safety

Inspector Kevin Hammett begins his summer time inspections the moment he steps poolside. He watches a gate as it closes explaining,  " We're checking to see if the gate self closes and self latches. That's one of the requirements. " Pool users and owners can take pointers from any inspector. Hammett tries to shake a pool ladder saying,  " This ladder is in good shape. It's secure."

Cleanliness can help you avoid water illnesses. If the pool is cloudy, don't get in. Hammett advises,    " You can see the drain cover, but if it's hard to see I would play it safe and close it ( the pool )."

Safety is another big concern. Hammett grabs a shepherd's hook.  " This is good if somebody is in danger. You can reach out here and they can grab it." You want to make sure the drain is up to date. Deaths and injuries have occurred when a drain's suction pulls down a child's body, limb or hair. A federal law requires anti-entrapment safety standards.  They go into full effect at the end of this year when the grace period ends.

You also need to make sure the swimmers follow their set of rules. A teacher supervising a group of children reminds them,  " We don't dunk them under the water. We don't cover their faces. Really your hands and your feet should always stay to yourself." Children between age one and two account for the majority of deaths. Lifeguards know to keep a constant watch on the little ones.    " They go under the water. You know, sometimes it's harder see them, "  said a life guard.

A government reports shows an increase in the number of children who drown in swimming pools.   The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 319 children under age 5 died in pool and spa incidents in 2005, the latest year for available information.   The actual incidence of water borne disease is not known. Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses associated with swimming. Health experts say let the chlorine do its job and don't swallow the water.