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Are your kids at risk of drain entrapment?

If you are taking an August vacation with your kids, you don't want a preventable tragedy to mar your holiday. One potentially lethal situation to avoid is suction entrapment.

This term refers to the powerful force of the suction from drains in spas and pools. Much the way a vacuum cleaner hose affixes to your open palm, uncovered drains can also latch on to unsuspecting people.

Kids often play with these suction and drain systems because they find them entertaining. Little do they know that such situations can quickly become life-threatening, as an 8-inch drain exerts 350 pounds of pressure that can prove impossible to escape.

Types of suction entrapment

There are multiple ways to die or be seriously injured by suction entrapment. They include the following:

  • Body entrapment: This is when a part of the swimmer's torso gets entrapped.
  • Hair entrapment: Hair gets entangled around the drain cover's grate.
  • Limb entrapment: Swimmers' legs or arms get stuck in open drain pipes.
  • Mechanical entrapment: When a swimmer's bathing suit or jewelry gets caught in the drain opening.
  • Evisceration: Victims can be disemboweled if their buttocks make contact with the suction outlet in the pool.

The spa and pool industry has made some strides in reducing the dangers by getting rid of single-source suction systems. Constructing dual main drains in newer pools can increase safety. So can installing safety vacuum release systems (SVRS), devices that shut off pumps once excessive vacuum buildup is detected and anti-vortex covers with molded fittings to prevent entrapment.

Multiple safety systems can provide layers of protection for swimmers and those who like to relax in hot tubs. However, not all facilities are up-to-date on these safety features.

If you or a family member gets injured or worse due to drain entrapment at a vacation resort, you may be able to pursue a premises liability suit against the property owners and others who may have liability.

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