Swimming Pool Safety
Summer is rapidly approaching and, with it, many people’s favorite summer pastime—swimming. While swimming and other water activities are, indeed, fun, the water can pose certain risks. Sadly, approximately ten people die each day from unintentional drowning, two of them age 14 and under. In the U.S., drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death.
The primary causes of drowning are lack of swimming ability, lack of close supervision, lack of barriers to water—such as fencing around a pool—alcohol use, failure to wear life jackets, and seizure disorders. Being aware of these risk factors and taking steps to reduce potential dangers will go a long way to promoting water safety.
Types of injuries
While water safety awareness is more commonly directed toward children, anyone can become a victim of a swimming pool accident. Accidents can be minor, such as a slip and fall, or major, such as drowning. Burn injuries can also occur due to improper upkeep and/or storage of pool chemicals. If chlorine and bleach levels are too high, chemical burns may result.
Maintaining proper chemical levels and ensuring the entire pool area is safe is imperative because pool owners can face liability for any injury under the premises liability rule which, basically, states that since the pool is a part of the property, the property owner bears responsibility to ensure that the pool is safe for everyone.
Tips to stay safe in the water
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers many tips to improve swimming pool safety.
Perhaps the most important safety measure is to ensure there is adequate supervision of children who are swimming or playing around water. Because drowning can occur both quickly and quietly, experts recommend that adults are close enough to reach the child(ren) at all times—called “touch supervision”—and that they refrain from any other distracting activity while supervising kids.
Another critical safety tip is ensuring that the pool area is completely set off from the rest of the house and yard. Four-sided fences which are at least four feet high with self-closing, self-latching, and outward opening gates with latches that are out of children’s reach are best. Additional recommendations include ensuring the fence is climb-resistant, not placing furniture or other objects nearby that a child could climb on, installing pool and door alarms, removing ladders or steps from above-ground pools, installing window guards, and investing in automatic pool covers.
All children should learn how to swim. The AAP recommends lessons for most children ages four and up, and for children between one and four years of age who are ready to learn. Because children develop at different rates, some factors parents should consider before starting lessons include assessing the child’s frequency of water exposure, any physical limitations the child may have, his/her emotional maturity, and any other potential health concerns related to swimming.
While formal swimming lessons can, indeed, protect younger children from drowning, they cannot prevent every possible accident that may arise and should never be seen as being completely drown-proof. Thus, constant supervision and the use of barriers to prevent unsupervised access remain crucial.
Improper diving—primarily when diving into water that is too shallow or hitting the diving board—can cause serious spinal cord injuries, brain damage, and even death. To ensure safe diving, always check the water depth; enter the water feet first; and never dive into above-ground pools, into the shallow end of any pool, or through pool toys or inner tubes. Taking diving lessons can also improve safety in this area.
Beware of pool toys
Water toys—whether air-filled or foam—should never be used as safety devices. While they may help children stay afloat in the water they are not designed to keep kids safe or prevent drowning. Remember, these toys are not life jackets. Additionally, be sure to remove all pool toys from the water when nobody is in the pool to prevent children from being enticed to enter the area unsupervised.
In the time it takes for emergency help to arrive, using CPR could save someone’s life. CPR and first aid lessons are plentiful through the American Red Cross.
Use common sense
Among the most overlooked yet critical rules people should enforce around their pool areas include no running or riding toys on the pool deck, keeping electrical appliances away from the pool, not playing “holding one’s breath” games in the water, and emptying blow-up pools after every use. Establishing—and maintaining—common sense rules can go a long way toward promoting safety and preventing tragedy.
While swimming is a common summer activity and is, indeed, fun, being cognizant of potential dangers and ensuring that everyone is safe will make swimming that much more safe and fun.
If you have questions, please contact Venus Poe today at 864-963-0310 click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. We have offices in Greenville, South Carolina and Fountain Inn, South Carolina to better serve you. Knowing all of your rights is imperative to make sure you are fully compensated after an accident. There is no obligation or charge for our initial consultation to see if we can help you with your accident case.
The information you obtain in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.You should not read this article to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you may have a case.