Protection from Portable Pool Risks Provided by New Standard
While all swimming pools pose certain risks, a new ASTM International standard focuses on specific issues presented by portable pools, which have become more popular and accessible to consumers in recent years. The standard, F2666, Specification for Aboveground Portable Pools for Residential Use, was developed by Subcommittee F15.60 on Portable Pools, under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee F15 on Consumer Products.
Consumers can purchase an inexpensive portable pool at a toy store or other retailer and set it up immediately. “Portable pools present a drowning risk, but unlike in-ground pools, they are not likely to be surrounded by a barrier that would keep people, especially young children, away from the pool,” says Carol Pollack-Nelson, a human factors psychologist and safety consultant who serves on several ASTM committees, including F15. There are several reasons why a portable pool may not be surrounded by a protective barrier: including: 1) consumers may not be aware of the need for a barrier due to low perceived risk of hazard stemming from the visual barrier created by the sides of the pool and low awareness of portable pool drowning deaths; and 2) the prohibitive cost of a permanent barrier, such as a fence, compared to the relatively low cost of a portable pool.
The standard sets out performance requirements, including the ability of the pools to resist horizontal and vertical forces that could cause the pool to collapse. In addition, F2666 requires that ladders sold with portable pools meet the applicable requirements found in ANSI/APSA-4, Standard for Aboveground/Onground Residential Swimming Pools.
Other areas covered by F2666 include the following:
Pollack-Nelson says that manufacturers of portable pools will use F2666 and that retailers will be able to rely on it when setting specifications for products that they are willing to bring into their stores for sale to consumers.
F2666 is the first in a projected series of standards that will cover safety pool covers, affordable alarms and barriers that work for portable pools and other future technology. Subcommittee F15.60 on Portable Pools welcomes participation from all interested parties, particularly retailers.
Technical Information: Carol Pollack-Nelson, Independent Safety Consulting, Rockville, Md.
ASTM Staff: Leonard Morrissey