I love swimming in the ocean, but I’ll admit that I still have a soft spot for the pool. I don’t have to worry about salt water burning my eyes, invisible jellyfish or getting pulled by a riptide. Sure, I’ll have to deal with how gross pool water can be and how crowded it can get, but pools sound like the safer bet when it comes to enjoying the water. Just know how to swim and you’ll be fine, right?
Well, there’s another danger that’s often overlooked by swimmers and parents: the drains.
Alex Morgan learned about this danger firsthand when her daughter nearly drowned while on a family vacation in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. Their six-year-old daughter Darcey was swimming by a waterfall feature in the pool. When the child’s head went underwater, her hair got caught in the pool’s filter. Since she was still submerged, she had no way of reaching the surface for air.
“She was kept under the water for over two minutes,” Morgan shared on Facebook. “Some incredibly brave people saved out little girl’s life that day. Her hair was pulled and pulled before it was ripped. Darcey was unconscious and had to be given CPR at the poolside.”
Darcey was quickly rushed to the hospital and stayed overnight due to low oxygen levels and fluid in her right lung. According to Morgan, the H10 Rubicon Palace and its staff “showed no respect and dealt with the matter poorly.” She wrote that the hotel claimed that Darcey slipped and hit her head before falling in the pool, as opposed to getting her hair caught in the filter. They also allegedly did not close the pool or investigate the matter further.
According to Elizabeth Klinefelter, the PoolSafely campaign lead, parents should be aware of the dangers in both private and public pools. In an interview with POPSUGAR, Klinefelter said:
The federal government’s drowning prevention program strongly recommends that children be taught to stay away from drains, suction outlets, and filters in swimming pools and spas. Children’s hair — along with limbs, jewelry, or bathing suits — can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. In addition, parents and caregivers should never allow children to enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken, or missing drain cover.
Regardless if you’re a child or an adult, keep track of where the pool filters and drains are and avoid them if you can. If you know someone that has long hair or lets their hair fall free when they swim, remind them that it’s easy to get it tangled in a pool drain and filter. Better to tie it up than tear it off.