Suction Entrapment Danger

In the last couple of months there have been two reported incidents of pool drain entrapments in Spain.  This is extremely alarming as we enter the beginning of the summer swim season.  Both incidents were unrelated but resulted in serious injuries to the children involved.  How do these accidents occur?

Result of pool drain suction

This photo illustrates the danger that may exist in swimming pools as a result of the following scenarios:

  • broken drain covers
  • suction from pool pump isolated to one inlet due to improper valve placement
  • suction from pool pump isolated to bottom drain as a result of improper water level

Unfortunately, many pools in Spain have been constructed with a single inlet at the bottom of the pool.  This practice CONTINUES TODAY in many instances and shows absolute gross negligence in my opinion. Children love to dive into the water and invariably end up near suction inlets where their small bodies, hair, limbs, or swimming costume could easily become entrapped when one of the above scenarios comes into play. The result could lead to catastrophic injury such as disembowelment or even death.

There are steps that property owners can take to lessen or even eliminate the dangers outlined in this post.  There are drain covers on the market today that can be installed that eliminate the suction possibility due to the way they are made.  Some are dome shaped, and others are shaped in such a way as to make it impossible to cover it completely by a swimmer.  Many covers easily retrofit onto existing sumps.  Each year these covers should be inspected and replaced if necessary!

Other solutions include:

  • vacuum relief systems
  • variable drive pumps that switch off when a suction problem is detected
  • retrofitting the single drain to a dual drain system

We have experience in all of these methods and have retrofitted literally hundreds of vessels to eliminate the hazard of entrapment.  Our firm would be more than happy to give you some direction in this important area of pool safety.  Give us a call or email for an appointment today.

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