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Drowning is the #1 Leading Cause of Unintentional Death Worldwide
In the summer, children and adults alike head to the pool to cool off and relax. As fun as the pool can be, pools also pose a serious risk. Pool accidents can occur anywhere from private pools, to public pools, hotels, motels, parks, water parks, and more. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death worldwide, with an average of 372,000 deaths reported annually. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that every day, around 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, 2 are children aged 14 or younger.
Most people are under the false assumption that pools are safe unless someone is engaging in horseplay, swimming while intoxicated, or misusing the pool. While these activities certainly pose hazardous risks, most accidental drowning cases occur when the pool is not actively being used. Drowning can happen in the blink of an eye and often happens very quietly. Many people envision scenarios of people flailing around in the water and screaming for help as shown in the movies; however, this is rarely what is seen in real life. Most drowning victims slip beneath the water quickly and quietly and don’t have the ability to motion or yell for help.
Swimming Pool Accident Statistics
Did you know a child can drown in the time that it takes to answer a phone? In fact, a child can be submerged within 10 seconds. After 2 minutes a person can lose consciousness and while the time varies, a person can drown in 4-6 minutes. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that for every child who drowns, 4 are hospitalized for near-drowning. Children who require CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) at the time they arrive at the emergency room have a poor prognosis, with at least half of these drowning survivors suffering significant lifelong neurological impairment. The National Safety Council reported that each year 5,000 children under the age of 14 are hospitalized for near-drowning events, and of these 20% suffer severe permanent disabilities. Healthcare costs for each near-drowning situation range from $75,000 for emergency room visits to $180,000 annually for long-term care.
Types of Swimming Pool Injuries
Drowning, however, is not the only cause of personal injuries at the pool. Swimming pools have been known for causing other significant injuries such as:
- Slip & Falls – the most common swimming pool-related accident, often caused by dangerous behavior and slippery surfaces
- Submersion Injuries- Near-drowning accidents can lead to long-term disabilities, including learning and disabilities and memory problems.
- Pool slide injuries- slide malfunctions can result in catastrophic bodily injuries
- Pool toy entrapment – tangled or flipped inflatable pool toys have been known to trap young children underwater or make it impossible for swimmers to escape
- Defective pool toys- toys which fail to function properly can endanger swimmers and can pose serious safety issues
- Diving board injuries – misuse of or malfunctioning diving boards can lead to catastrophic injuries
- Drain injuries – suction force from pool drains can lead to drowning or traumatic bodily injuries if a body part or hair covers a drain portal
- Hair entrapment – suction force can lead to hair entrapment, leading to serious head injuries or drowning
- Electric defects – water and electricity can lead to fatal or devastating injuries
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents and drownings often result from things such as disregarding warning signs or swimmer inexperience. However, swimming pool accidents can also result from negligence on the part of the swimming pool operator or owner. Some common causes of negligence in swimming pool accidents include:
- Lack of Proper Supervision – in public pools, a lifeguard must be on duty at all times that people are inside the pool. If there is no lifeguard, the pool owner and operator must place a sign warning people. If lifeguards are on duty, they are responsible for watching for any dangers and keeping swimmers safe. Lifeguard who are distracted can lead to tragic consequences.
- Lack of Anti-entrapment Devices – all swimming pools should have devices in place that protect swimmers from the pool drains. If the proper devices are not installed, then the swimmer is at risk of their hair, clothing, or limbs being caught by the drainage system.
- Lack of Proper Barriers – proper barriers are essential in preventing children and those who cannot swim from the dangers that a pool presents. Barriers can prevent drownings and should be at least 4ft high and not have any openings big enough for a child to slip and fall in. Pool barriers should also include locks.
- Uneven or Excessively Slippery Surfaces – the area around the swimming pool is also dangerous, often wet and slippery. Some surfaces such as tile can be excessively slippery and lead to slip and fall accidents. Cracked or uneven pavement and surfaces in and out of the pool can also lead to catastrophic injuries. Proper precautions should be taken to minimize slip and fall accidents around the pool.
Liability in Swimming Pool Accidents
The National Safety Council stated that 80% of drowning occur in residential pools or spas. Those that own and operate swimming pools are responsible for ensuring that the pool is a safe place for all who swim in it. Preventing accidental drownings and personal injuries from happening in a private pool is a full-time job and is the responsibility of the owner. While public pools have lifeguard around the pool to warn swimmers of potential dangers, the most dangerous situations typically arise when no one is in the pool and there is nobody to supervise.
No matter what, the owner of the pool is the person responsible and held liable for providing a safe environment for both adults and children inside and outside of the pool. The homeowner is also responsible for being proactive in accident prevention and ensuring proper pool maintenance. If a homeowner does not want to take adequate measures to prevent unsupervised or unwanted individuals from accessing the pool, they will end up assuming liability if an accident occurs.
Call Thompson Law
Seeking compensation after a catastrophic pool accident requires the skill of an attorney who has specialized knowledge in this area of personal injury law. Attorney Ryan L. Thompson has spent his career protecting the rights of the injured and their families, helping them recover and receive compensation after drowning and other injury accidents.
At Thompson Law, we’ve helped countless families that have been affected by swimming pool accidents. Our team of experienced Texas personal injury attorneys are familiar with the damage that these accidents can cause. If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact us today at 844-308-8180