Spa & pool skimmer boxes, covers, filters & outlets

People are at risk of serious injury or death when using pools with unsafe skimmer boxes, covers, filters and outlets.  Always make sure that these products comply with national regulation.

About skimmer boxes, covers, filters and outlets

National regulation exists on these items to minimise injury and death.

Skimmer boxes, covers, filters and outlets are part of a pool or spa filtration system. They're designed to remove leaves and other debris from the pool water.  

Risks and injuries

Children are at risk of serious injury and death if they get trapped on spa and pool skimmer boxes, filters, outlets and covers. Australian children have been tragically disemboweled after sitting on an open skimmer box by the strong suction action.

Unsafe covers on filter outlets or suction points can come off, creating the risk of hair or parts of the body being trapped. A person may then be dragged under the water and drown. Unsafe outlets and filters can also trap a person's hair or parts of their body.

Buying tips

  • Look for safe models covered by Australian and American voluntary standards. These include: AS1926.3, AS2610, AS281, and ANSI A112.
  • Ask pool and spa suppliers for proof that any products they provide you with are designed to minimise the likelihood of entrapment of any part of a person's body or hair by the outlet when in use.
  • Check that it does not have an open, potty-shaped skimmer box that children or adults can sit on.
  • Check whether there are outlets or filters that are open and may trap hair or body parts.
  • Check whether the covers can easily come off and give access to filters or outlets that can trap hair or body parts or cause serious internal injuries.
  • Check that it does not have single drainage outlets at the bottom of the pool or spa, rather than on the sides.

Safe use

  • If you have any of these products that do not meet the Australian and American voluntary standards, you should immediately stop using the pool or spa and replace the skimmer box, outlets, filters or covers with models that do comply.
  • Conduct an annual safety check with a spa and pool supplier to ensure filters and outlets are safe and are working as intended.
  • Avoid using spas or swimming pools that have a bottom drain outlet—if these are blocked or damaged they can create significant pressure that can trap and pin a person under water and cause drowning.
  • Avoid using spas or swimming pools that have moulded skimmer boxes with no lid or a lid that children can easily remove.