Safety Tips to Avoid Swimming Pool Accidents and Litigation

Oklahoma premises liability lawyers represent those who have suffered as a result of an injury or death that occurred on someone else's property as a result of the property owner's negligence.  Premises liability accidents may include slips, trips, or falls; trampoline accidents; crimes resulting from inadequate security; and more.  As summer approaches, personal injury attorneys in Oklahoma caution homeowners, parks, and other organizations that swimming pools can be a serious liability if proper safety precautions are not enforced. Swimming pools are designed for relaxation and recreation.  For many families, unfortunately, these icons of summer can quickly turn deadly.  Swimming injury statistics are staggering.  Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury death among children aged 1-4, and it is the second leading cause of accidental injury death among children younger than 15.  While half of all drownings of children younger than age 1 occur in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets, most drowning victims aged 1-4 drown in residential swimming pools.  Drowning deaths and swimming pool injuries are not exclusive to toddlers and preschoolers, however.  Approximately 5,000 children aged 14 and younger are transported to the hospital each year as a result of accidental drowning.  Of those 5,000 children, fifteen percent die and twenty percent suffer from permanent brain damage or neurological disability. Though drowning is an obvious swimming pool danger, many other serious accidents and catastrophic injuries include those from slippery walkways and decks, dangerous filters and drains, diving boards and ladders, and electrical shock.  In addition to drowning, injuries may include traumatic brain injury, neck injury, spinal cord injury, and organ damage. Swimming pool accidents can occur in any type of pool:

  • 19% of fatal child drownings occur in public pools with certified lifeguards on duty
  • 11% of drownings of children aged 1-5 occur in portable pools
  • 39,500 people annually seek emergency room care for accidents in in-ground pools
  • 10,000 people annually seek emergency room care for accidents in above-ground pools
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and its website at PoolSafely.gov offer these tips to help avoid serious or fatal swimming pool accidents:
  • Neither children nor adults should ever swim alone
  • Do not swim after eating, drinking alcoholic beverages, or taking medication
  • No roughhousing should be allowed in or near the pool
  • Always go down pool slides feet first
  • Keep rescue devices (such as life preservers and a shepherd's hook) and first aid supplies near the pool
  • Always make sure there is responsible adult supervision
  • Teach children to swim and teach water safety
  • If a child is missing, always check the pool or spa first
Supervision is the most important part of pool safety; however, in nearly 9 out of 10 child drownings, a parent or caregiver claimed to be watching the child.  In 77% of home drownings, a child had been missing for fewer than five minutes when he or she was discovered in the pool or spa.  In 70% of those cases, the child was not expected to be near the pool.  It is important that, in addition to supervision, pool owners install adequate safety equipment:
  • Four-foot or taller fence installed around the pool, preferably a four-sided fence that completely separates the pool from the house and yard
  • Self-closing, self-latching gates on fences
  • Lockable safety covers for spas and hot tubs
  • Door alarms, window guards, and window alarms for residences where homes are adjacent to the pool and not separated by a fence
  • Pool and gate alarms
  • VGB compliant drain covers
  • Surface wave or underwater alarms
Approximately ten people die each day as a result of unintentional drowning.  Help prevent swimming pool accidents by practicing adequate safety measures to protect your family, friends, and neighbors.  As summer temperatures arrive early in Oklahoma, be sure to thoroughly inspect and maintain any pool before opening it for the season.  

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