Summer brings warm weather and the sunshine. This means going to the pool and swimming. However, while swimming in a pool might be a great way to get away from the summer heat, it is also a source for many injuries and deaths. Kids are particularly at risk if they are left to go swimming on their own. Even if there are lifeguards at the pool, you should always keep a close eye on your child in the event that they start struggling.
Common Causes of Swimming Injuries
According to a study done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical center, kids are likely to drown, or nearly drown, in swimming pools at a much higher rate than adults. Amongst these injuries diving injuries are some of the most catastrophic. Up to 5 percent of all spinal cord injuries are the result of diving accidents.
The CDC estimates that unintentional drowning in swimming pools causes around ten deaths per day, making accidental drowning’s the fifth leading cause of accidental injury and death in the United States. One harrowing statistic is that approximately 76% of these fatal drownings happen to children who are under the age of five years old. What is more frightening, especially for parents, is that 76% of these fatal accidents strike children under the age of five.
Regardless of the location, the majority of pool-related injuries are caused by factors such as:
- Lack of supervision – Unfortunately, people think that because there is a lifeguard on staff that their child is going to absolutely be protected from drowning. However, that is not the case. In addition, some parents or babysitters do not always pay close attention or even leave their children in a pool completely unsupervised.
- Swimming ability – Swimming is generally not a natural ability, it is something that has to be learned. However, even if you or your child has taken swimming lessons they may still be overcome by deep water or if they are at the beach by rough surf.
- Lifeguard inattentiveness – While lifeguards have been trained how to identify swimmers who are struggling and how to save a swimmer who is submerged, they can often miss telltale signs that a swimmer is struggling until it is too late.
The CDC has also determined that a lack of barriers and fences is the most common risk factor for drowning and other pool-related injuries. In less than five minutes and two inches of water, an innocent life could be lost. The Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to urge parents to watch children at all times around swimming pools and spas and practice other safety steps such as learning water safety and rescue skills like CPR, and installing anti-entrapment pool and drain covers.
Accidental Drowning Water Safety Laws and Regulations
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has developed voluntary guidelines, which include education and labeling, to address the hazard of children drowning in five-gallon buckets.
Arizona, California, Florida, and Oregon have all enacted statewide legislation that requires that some type of fencing be placed around swimming pools in private residences. In addition, many communities have enacted safety laws requiring some type of fencing around residential swimming pools.
Thirty-eight states have enacted boating safety laws requiring children to wear PFDs at all times when on boats or near open bodies of water. These laws vary in age requirements, exemptions and enforcement procedures. Recreational boats must carry one properly sized, U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD, accessible and in good condition, for each person onboard.
How do you prove Negligence in Swimming Pool Accidents?
If someone you know or a child is a victim of an accidental drowning then you may be able to bring a suit against the place where the drowning occurred. Under Pennsylvania Code § 18.42, a recreational swimming establishment must have on duty an adequate number of certified lifeguards to protect the safety of users, according to Pennsylvania Code § 18.42. This is to ensure that an adequate number of certified lifeguards are on duty at any given time, the operator of a facility where people will be swimming must have at least one certified lifeguard for every 4,000 square feet of water surface area.
The public swimming pool also must have a certain number of life-saving devices, according to Pennsylvania Code § 18.43. One or more reaching devices must be available, according to the law. This could include poles and ropes. Flotation devices, such as buoys and life jackets, also must be available, in addition to a standard 24-unit first aid kit.
In order for a person to be able to recover for any injuries and damages resulting from an accidental drowning, they will have to prove that the facility or the workers were negligent. Proving negligence in swimming pool accident cases can be very difficult but is not impossible. A person must prove his or her injury or the death of a loved one was the result of another person’s negligence. This means that you will have to prove that the facility or person owed you a duty of care, that they breached the duty of care, that their negligence caused the injury, and that you suffered damages as a result of their negligence.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer at The Reiff Law Firm Today
Please contact us promptly if your child or someone you know has been the victim of an accidental drowning. If you or someone you care about has been injured please call our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys for your free & confidential consultation at (215) 246-9000 or contact us online.