With Memorial Day just around the corner, swimming pools will be opening for the season. As we mark the unofficial start to summer, we also want to recognize the increased risk for swimming pool accidents that accompanies the season.
A Look at Drowning Statistics
Every year in the United States, there are an estimated 3,960 unintentional drownings, including boating-related drownings– that’s an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. Emergency doctors in our nation will also treat more than 8-thousand non-fatal drowning injuries this year, which can result in long-term health problems.
Sadly, children are the most vulnerable, which is why drowning is considered the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-4. These are difficult statistics to hear, but knowledge can save lives.
The Most Common Swimming Pool Accidents
Twenty-three percent of all child drownings will happen during a family gathering near a pool, and it only takes as little as 20-60 seconds. Drowning is often fast and silent and looks nothing like we’d expect.
However, drowning isn’t the only risk that comes with a swimming pool or hot tub. At the law offices of Dale E. Anstine, we see many life-altering injuries from pool accidents including:
- Diving Board Injuries Despite warning signs installed by pool companies, countless swimmers are rushed to the emergency room each year after suffering traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries after a diving accident.
- Slip and Fall Injures Not surprisingly, surfaces around swimming pools and hot tubs are wet and slippery and falls often lead to broken bones and concussions.
- Circulation Entrapment Injuries When someone becomes trapped by suction generated by water rushing out of the drain of a pool or hot tub, a swimmer can suffer a circulation entrapment injury. These injuries can be severe and include disembowelment and amputation.
- Submersion Injuries Swimmers who end up under water for a long period of time due to entrapment, a medical condition or exhaustion can end up with traumatic brain injuries, along with permanent pulmonary and neurological damage.
Homeowner Liability and Swimming Pool Injuries
Homeowners with pools are required to follow Pennsylvania building code, which outlines specific rules to ensure the safety of anyone in or around a private swimming pool. Here’s a look at some of them:
- All pools must be fenced on all sides with a structure that is at least 48 inches tall (four feet).
- Fence gates must be self-closing and latching and must open outwards, and the mechanism to open the fence must have a latch that is at least 54 inches above the ground.
- Pickets must be four inches or less apart.
- Before a homeowner builds a fence, a building inspector must approve the type of fence and the type of construction used. The fence must also be inspected after installation to ensure it meets code.
- Above ground pools require a four-foot barrier all the way around the swimming area with a lock-up ladder. If the sides of the pool are 48 inches tall, it may be considered the fence.
If you’re opening your pool this holiday weekend, or heading to a pool, please keep these safety measures in mind and be safe.
Injured in a Swimming Pool Accident?
Injuries from swimming pool accidents can be life-changing and require long-term or lifelong medical treatment. These treatments can lead to significant medical bills and time away from work. That’s why it is critical for injured swimmers to file an insurance claim, and in some cases, a lawsuit.
Swimming pool claims can be difficult to navigate as there are many things to take into account. Was the accident on a private or public pool; was the pool’s owner following all safety regulations; was any negligence involved?
Our firm has handled many swimming pool accident cases, and we are here for you. In the event you are dealing with the devastation of losing a loved one due to a drowning, we will stand alongside you, answering all of your questions and dealing with insurance companies so you can focus on healing.
We’re available 24/7 via our website chat. You can also call us at 717-846-0606. We always offer free consultations and never collect a fee until we win for you.