I couldn’t feel my hands anymore and using them was impossible. The shivering was uncontrollable and violent. “That’s a good sign,” I thought to myself. I remembered from my studies of hypothermia that shivering stops before you lose consciousness. “If I’m still shivering than I’ll live for a while longer”, I reasoned. But mostly I was wondering about how I got myself into that mess.
What could possibly go wrong? That question doesn’t get asked often enough. In June of 2002, it was discovered that the suction drain of a hot tub was strong enough to hold a child underwater. Seven-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker lost her life because a spa manufacturer did not ask the question: what could go wrong? The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was signed into law in December of 2007. If it feels like five years was too long to wait for a regulation that makes spas and pools less able to hold children underwater – I agree. The Act calls for safety interlocks and anti-entrapment screens ─ all the things you think would be common sense, but apparently weren’t. Implementation of the law is still being worked out. But here is the thing – the pool in the backyard is yours. You can assume that designers and manufacturers (and government regulators) thought of everything, or you can start asking your own questions. At the bottom of this post is the list of questions I consider when setting up a pool for safe operation. However, It is best when used as a starting point and an example for your list. As with most things relating to water safety, there are too many variables for absolutes. The hazards that are particular to your own backyard pool or spa are ones that you alone are going to have to manage. It’s hard and perhaps even stressful work, but I promise it will make your family safer. Here’s how to do it: […]