The Blue Cap Foundation has carried out research into the safety of swimming pools in the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Italy and France. The Foundation measures the suction forces that are on the sump grilles using specialised equipment developed by the Foundation.
Dutch law and European standards state that pool openings below the water must be designed in such a way that the risk of suction or the possibility of hair being tangled are minimised.
The Foundation has, during its studies, regularly found very dangerous situations including suction forces in pools of about 500 kilograms. An adult may be able to resist tens of kilograms of suction power, children have less chance. Long hair can be sucked in with a low suction force which can have disastrous consequences if the hair gets entangled behind a protective grill.
The Foundation uses this research to stress the urgency to make pools safer.
Research in European pools spring 2011
In 2011 the Foundation carried out research in holiday resorts in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Italy and France. It was not easy to find resorts willing to cooperate in our studies. In the resorts which did cooperate, 50% of them had a life-threatening water circulation system installed. The Foundation often measured a considerable suction force at the protective grilles, sometimes up to ten times that which an adult can resist. This was especially common in pools in which water was withdrawn for a waterslide or other playground equipment. It is striking that many pool managers are unaware of the dangers.
The results of this research have been recognized by the European Committee for Standardization and a workgroup has been set up to reinforce the laws and regulations.
Research in Dutch pools autumn 2011
The Blue Cap Foundation has examined twelve pools throughout the Netherlands, both private pools in holiday parks and publicly accessible pools. In ten of the twelve pools suction forces were measured and the results ranged from a few kilos to three hundred kilos per opening at the protective grilles. It is worrying that none of the pool operators or regulators had measured these suction forces previously.