As the weather warms up this spring, Fort Wayne residents will be spending more time outdoors lounging in hot tubs and swimming in pools. Now is a good time to review one potential hazard of which pool and spa users may be unaware — drain entrapment.

Drain entrapments occur when a person’s clothing, hair, limbs or other body parts get sucked into a strong drain and hold them underwater, unable to break free. This can cause them to drown or even to have their organs eviscerated from their bodies.

Older, faulty drains usually the culprit

Most newly installed pools and hot tubs conform to modern safety standards that make these type of accidents impossible or highly unlikely. Still, it is always wise to be aware of the potential dangers you can face so that you can avoid them.

If you are the owner of an older hot tub or in-ground pool, you can make it safer by installing a safety vacuum release system to automatically turn off the pump if something gets stuck to it or becomes blocked. You can contact a pool servicing company to have them check to ensure that your equipment includes safety-compliant drain covers.

It’s also wise to clearly mark the pump’s electrical cut-off switch in case of an emergency.

Don’t let kids soak or swim unmonitored

Children should never be given unfettered access to a hot tub or spa. They should always be supervised by an adult who is focused on them and not distracted by a phone or talking with others.

Teach your children never to play with the pipes, drains or other parts of the pumping system while they are in the water. Those with long hair should keep it tied up and no one should enter the water wearing loose clothing or jewelry that might get sucked into an opening.

In an emergency

Should someone get entrapped, immediately shut off the pump and call for help. It is generally not a good idea to try to pull them off the drain, as that can create more damage. Sticking something between the drain and the person can break the suction, allowing you to roll them off the opening.

If you are harmed by drain entrapment

Those who experience drain entrapment can suffer from serious consequences that may be both life-threatening and permanent. Your recovery could be extensive and the medical bills quite costly. Seeking compensation for your injuries, damages and losses may be possible through the Indiana civil court system.