They’re meant to enhance summer fun, but if you’re not careful, they could result in a trip to the emergency room. As we close in on the weekend, people are preparing swimming pools while the kids are digging out their bathing suits. Somewhere in the vicinity of that pool is a supply of chemicals used to treat the water. These chemicals are used to kill bacteria and control algae, but in the wrong hands, they can be caustic.
Some pool chemicals can burn your skin, eyes, and throat, and can interfere with breathing. Some can be corrosive and some may even be flammable.
Pool chemical injuries caused almost 5,000 visits to emergency rooms in 2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About half involved children or teens, and more than a third happened at home. Half of the incidents took place on weekends between Memorial Day to Labor Day. The thing is, most of these accidents can be easily avoided.
The single best thing you can do to prevent pool chemical injury is to carefully read and follow all label directions. The CDC offers these tips:
1. Follow label directions on all products.
2. Wear safety equipment (goggles masks, gloves) as directed when handling pool chemicals.
3. Keep kids away when using pool chemicals.
4. When not in use, keep chemicals locked up so children and animals can’t get into them.
5. Don’t mix different pool products together — especially chlorine products with acid.
6. If the product label doesn’t instruct you to pre-dissolve pool chemicals, don’t do it.
7. Never add water to pool chemicals — always put the chemicals into the pool.
Always follow directions for safely disposing of pool chemicals and containers.