Swimming Pool Accidents
A refreshing dip in a swimming pool can be a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. But pools can also be dangerous places, especially for small children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people per day die from unintentional drowning. And of people who survive drowning, more than half require hospitalization or further treatment in another facility. Survivors may have severe brain damage that causes lifelong disabilities or results in a permanent loss of consciousness and mobility.
Public pools should be well maintained, with an appropriate number of lifeguards on staff. Private pools should be surrounded by barriers, to keep out children and trespassers. When people are careless about swimming pool safety, accidents are bound to happen.
If you or a family member has been injured in a swimming pool accident because of someone else’s carelessness, our Philadelphia swimming pool accident lawyers may be able to help. Call us today at (800) 529-6200.
Public Pool Safety
In 2004, Wapner Newman won a verdict for the family of a girl who died after being found unconscious in a pool. Only two lifeguards had been assigned to monitor a pool full of children.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health requires lifeguards to staff public pools, but that doesn’t include pools in apartment complexes, at campgrounds, or at hotels. Public pools must have at least two certified lifeguards at a pool facility, with at least one guard at poolside for every 4,000 square feet of water surface area, and an additional lifeguard for any fractional part of at least 1,000 square feet.
The health department rules make no mention of the ratio of lifeguards to swimmers. Even when a facility follows the rules, a lifeguard might not notice someone drowning in an overly crowded pool, especially because drowning often occurs silently.
Parents want to believe their children are safe when they’re swimming in a community pool where a lifeguard is present. But lifeguards often have to deal with distractions, such as keeping rowdy youngsters from engaging in horseplay, and a momentary lack of focus could cause a lifeguard to miss signs that a swimmer is in distress.
Parents can help keep their kids safe by watching their children when they’re at a public pool. When it comes to keeping children safe in a pool, there’s no such thing as too much supervision.
Sometimes, it’s not a lack of swimming ability that puts a child at risk, but rather faulty equipment. That’s what happened to 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker. She was an experienced swimmer, but she drowned when she became entrapped in a hot tub drain.
After Virginia died, her mother successfully lobbied for federal regulations that require public pools and hot tubs to have drain covers. The Virginia Graeme Baker Act went into effect in December 2008, and owner/operators of public pools were required by law to retrofit existing drain covers to prevent entrapment hazards.
In 2011, eight manufacturers of pool and spa drain covers recalled 1 million units, due to a malfunction that could cause entrapment. And in 2014, Waterway Plastics recalled 26,000 suction drain covers, after 70 reports of the devices becoming detached. Although no injuries were reported in those recalls, it’s alarming that these products put so many people at risk.
Faulty drain covers, improperly secured diving boards, and aging pool ladders can cause serious injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to faulty pool equipment, or poor pool maintenance, you may be entitled to compensation.
Find out if you have a case. Call us today at (800) 529-6200.
Safety at Home
The CDC reports that for children ages 1 to 4, drowning is the second leading cause of death, and most of those deaths occur in home swimming pools. Often, these tragedies occur because a curious toddler wanders off when a caregiver is distracted.
The CPSC’s Pool Safety campaign offers several recommendations for parents and caregivers that can help save children’s lives, among them:
- If a child is missing, check the pool first.
- Learn how to swim, learn CPR, and teach children how to swim.
- Keep an emergency kit near a pool or spa and include a pair of scissors for cutting clothing or hair entangled in a drain.
- Install a barrier at least four feet high around any pool or spa.
- Install pool and gate alarms that alert you when a gate has been opened or when there is motion near a pool.
A child can drown within seconds, so adults should always closely watch children who are in and around water. When you leave your child in the care of a babysitter or relative, you must be certain they understand the dangers of a swimming pool or spa. Make the pool area off-limits, and don’t hesitate to use security cameras to ensure no one is using the pool while you’re away from home.
Asking for Help
We know how devastating a near-drowning or drowning death can be for families. Aside from emotional anguish, families may be burdened with ongoing medical costs. If you or a loved one has suffered a swimming pool accident because of someone else’s carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our Philadelphia swimming pool accident attorneys today at (800) 529-6200, or fill out our online contact form.