Swimming pools are a popular attraction for many people who are seeking relief from the high summer temperatures. Unfortunately, there are many preventable pool accidents that occur every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about 10 people die each day from drowning accidents, and approximately 20% of these fatalities are children under the age of 15. Preventing swimming pool accidents can be done, however, with some simple precautions.
Protect Your Pool
If you have a pool at your home, protecting it with a secure fence is an easy way to prevent accidents. Install a sturdy fence that is at least 4 feet tall. When installing it, make sure that all entrances to the pool area have self-latching gates. A pool fence can keep young children away from the water, but only if there are no ways to climb over or squeeze through. The fence should be made of vertical bars spaced no more than 4 inches apart. Keep patio furniture away from the fence to prevent children from climbing.
Mark your pool with depth markers to help swimmers judge how deep the water is in areas. Stock your pool area with rescue equipment, and know how to use it in an emergency. If you are a homeowner with a pool, take a class on CPR. This life-saving technique can allow emergency services time to arrive. Post numbers for emergency services in a conspicuous location. Keep a charged cell phone and a first-aid kit on hand when swimming in case of an emergency.
Remove pool covers completely before swimming, and securely replace them afterward. After swimming, clean up and store all pool toys and floats to prevent children from playing with them when there is no one supervising the area. After leaving the pool area, check all the gates to ensure they are latched properly.
Supervise the Pool
Never allow children to enter the pool area without adult supervision. The adult who is supervising the pool should be a strong swimmer and not distracted while watching the pool. Make sure that young children and poor swimmers wear life vests in the pool, and never rely on pool toys or inflatable rafts to substitute for a safety device. Teach your children to swim as young as possible. Many swim schools accept children as young as 3 or 4 years old. Some may offer special classes to teach children as young as 6 months old how to self-rescue so that they can float until an adult can rescue them. Even adults should never swim alone. Always have a second person present in case of an emergency.
Enforce pool safety rules for swimmers. These can include:
- No rough housing
- No running in the pool area
- No swimming without supervision
- No swimming while intoxicated
- No diving or only diving in the deep end of the pool
- No swimming after dark
Accidents can cause different types of injuries, including concussions, lacerations, fractures, neck injuries, or even drowning. Enforcing rules and preparing for an emergency can prevent many of these accidents, but some injuries can be sustained during a perfectly safe day at the pool. Swimmers can suffer from repetitive strain injuries from poor form. Tune up your technique with a few swim lessons to prevent strain.
Sunburns are another common summer injury. Apply a high SPF sunscreen regularly, and reapply after toweling off or when several hours have passed. Be sure to sunscreen the tips of ears, the backs of hands, the tops of feet, around the hairline and to the part in hairstyles, and other easily missed places. Cover up with protective clothing and stay in the shade when possible. Sunburns are painful, but without appropriate protection, they can develop into serious burns and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Swimming should be a fun summer activity, free of injuries. Unfortunately, preventable accidents are common and can leave victims with expensive medical treatment and lengthy recovery times. Pools can be dangerous if they are not properly protected or maintained, and negligent actions can allow accidents to happen. If you or a loved one were injured in a swimming pool accident due to someone else's careless actions, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you are able to make a claim, and can help you build your case.
At Komie & Morrow, LLP, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our injured clients. We have over 50 years of collective experience to help with your case, and our team is well-versed in a variety of accident types. You can trust that we strive to help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact Komie & Morrow, LLP to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.