Swimming Pool Safety Awareness
NYS OCFS Regulations for all program types prohibit the use fill-and-drain/dump wading pools.
Please note: If you have a fill-and-drain wading pool for personal use for your own children, please store it in a manner that doesn’t collect rainwater.
How do you determine if it is a swimming pool, or a fill-and-drain-pool?
You can refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to learn how the pool is to be maintained. Generally, a filtration system is required for a swimming pool. If you are not sure, call Licensing/Registrar staff!
An above-ground or in-ground swimming pool that is on or adjacent to the program’s premises is considered a water hazard that must have a barrier in place to prevent children’sunsupervised/accidental access. Typical required safety measures include a barrier or fencing that measures at least 4 feet from the ground or deck and surrounds the pool. A locking gate to the pool area is also required, generally at a height out of children’s reach.
If you have a swimming pool that you would like to have approved for program use to swim with children in care, please contact the Licensing/Registrar for your program. There are more detailed requirements.
Licensing/Registration staff will assist you with developing a Pool Plan. The pool plan must be approved by your Licensor/Registrar office prior to use, and “renewed” each year before use.
Center-based programs with a pool on premises must be inspected by the Department of Health and meet other requirements for lifeguards and pool use.
If you are planning a field trip with children to a “public pool” your program must meet certain supervision and safety requirements. Check with Licensing/Registrar staff if you are unsure.
Special permissions/parent consents are also needed.
Looking for Ways to Have Water Fun Activities on Hot Summer Days?
- Water sprinklers, water sprayers, water squirters, and splash pads that don’t have a container that deposits/holds water may be used ONLY with direct supervision with children in your program.
- You might use a “pool noodle” with a hose attached to one end to squirt/spray the water if you don’t want to buy something more elaborate.
- “Slip and slides” are not recommended due to increased injuries, and generally they include an area where water deposits.
- Some other options include:
- An elevated water table, or use of low plastic containers elevated on a table, with a recommend depth of less than 4-6 inches of water may be used with children. Use of saturated washcloths (for infants/toddlers), or sponges saturated with water (children over 3 years), pitchers, pouring and measuring tools, etc may be used separately, or in a water table or elevated low containers with a few inches of water.
- Poke tiny holes in a small plastic bottle with a tight lid and fill them with water. When children squeeze or roll the bottle, the water will come out.
- Cut pool noodles in half lengthwise to make a “tunnel” for pouring water from one direction to another.
- Use pvc pipe with elbow joints to make a water fountain or water tunnel.
All should be used ONLY when the water activity is directly supervised by a caregiver and the water is emptied immediately after use. Children should not be able to crawl into the water table or container to swim or it would be considered a “fill and drain/dump” pool.
Some self-contained water filled mats may be appropriate for some ages and areas outside.
Place paper on a fence, sidewalk, or mat and use colored water in spray or squirt bottles to “paint” a mural or art work. Check/test to be sure the paint is washable and not permanent – safe for clothing etc.
Use fingerpaint outside on a tacked down plastic tablecloth or shower curtain (make sure the paint is not permanent – test before using). Let the children spray or pour water to change the direction or blend colors of the paint. Spray or pour with water or to wipe clean.
Check the internet for safe, make at home fingerpaint and squirt bottles with natural non-permanent coloring (beet water, carrot water, or spinach water for example).
Check with Licensing and Registrar staff if you are unsure if a water activity is in compliance with regulations and safe for children in your program.
Have a safe and fun summer!
Thermal Burns from Playground Equipment
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants you to be aware of the risk of thermal burns from playground equipment. You may remember the metal slides of your youth and how they could get very hot in the summer sun. But what you may not realize is that today's newer materials, such as plastics and rubbers, also have the potential to become hot enough to burn a child's skin.
Doesn’t it have to be hot outside in order for a child to receive a burn?
Surprisingly, no! The weather does not have to be hot in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns. Even in mild weather, as long as the equipment or surfacing is in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, there is a risk of sustaining a thermal burn injury. In fact, one reported incident occurred on a 74°F day and resulted in a child receiving serious second‐degree burns from a plastic slide.
I only have to worry about metal slides, right?
No. Metal is not the only material that can cause thermal burns. Because it is known that bare (uncoated) metal slides can cause severe burns, many pieces of metal playground equipment have either been replaced with plastic equipment or coated with heat‐reducing paint—yet burns still occur on playgrounds. CPSC is aware of nearly 30 thermal burn incidents from 2001‐2008. Of those incidents, 10 were associated with plastic, rubber, or other nonmetal surfaces, and seven were associated with metal surfaces.
What should I watch for?
* Uncoated metal equipment, or metal equipment;
where the heat-reducing coating has rubbed off.
* Slides, swings, or other equipment that a child may
* Dark-colored plastics and rubbers, especially the
surfacing under and around the playground
* Asphalt and concrete surfaces near playgrounds.
Who is most at risk?
A child of any age can be burned by a hot surface; however, children 2 years old and younger are most at risk for two reasons:
1) A young child's skin is more susceptible to burning because it is thinner and more delicate.
2) Young children have not yet learned to react by removing themselves from the hot surface.
3) Unlike the reflex that happens when a child touches a very hot surface with their hand, a young child who is sitting or standing on the hot surface may scream from the pain of burning, but they may not know to move from the location that is burning them.
What can I do?
- Always be aware of the sun and weather conditions, and do not assume that the equipment is safe because the air temperature is not very high.
- Always check the temperature of the equipment and surfacing before letting your children play on the playground.
- Remember, a young child's skin will burn faster than your own. If it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child's bare skin.
- Because some materials transfer heat more slowly than others, these materials may not feel hot with a quick touch.
- Always dress your child inappropriate clothing for the playground (e.g., shoes, pants).
- Remember that playground equipment, as well as playground surfacing, may cause burns.
- Several incidents have involved a child running barefoot across the playground.
- Always watch your children while on the playground. Supervision can help to prevent some incidents.
Where can I report an injury or burn?
If your child is injured on the playground, first seek medical attention, if necessary, then:
1) Call the park owner or operator, which is often your local parks and recreation department or the school system, and notify them of the injury.
2) Report the incident to CPSC by calling 800‐638‐2772 or logging on to www.SaferProducts.gov.
3) Call the manufacturer (if known), and notify them of the injury.