Swimming Pool Accidents & Drownings Claim Hundreds of Lives
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning accidents are the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 390 deaths (roughly ten a day) are linked to drowning in a swimming pool or a spa.
The majority of drowning deaths and submersion injuries in the United States are associated with pools. About half of reported pool-related injuries and deaths occur at home or residential pools and spas.
Common Injuries from Swimming Pool Accidents
An annual average of more than 5,000 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries are reported each year for children younger than 15. Serious injuries include:
• Head Injuries
• Bone Fractures
• Spinal Cord Injuries
Who is Most at Risk of Swimming Pool Accidents?
• Young children: Children younger than 5 represent nearly 75 percent of pool and spa deaths.
• Minority Children: African-American and Hispanic children are at high risk—USA Swimming records show 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them especially vulnerable.
Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
• Inadequate supervision
• Suction entrapments—a swimmer can be trapped by water or drain suction
• Inability to swim
• Removal or lack of safety barrier
• Diving in shallow water
• Slippery surface surrounding pool
• Alcohol or drug use
Diving into Pools a Serious Safety Risk
Up to 10 percent of cervical spinal cord injuries are caused by pool diving accidents. The victims are predominantly male.
Almost all of the accidents are caused by diving in water less than ten feet deep. When the entire weight of one’s body hits the bottom of a pool, the force transmitted to the cervical spine is likely to cause the vertebrae that encircle the spinal cord to collapse. If the spinal cord is damaged and is unable to transmit nerve impulses, paralysis occurs.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, of an estimated 11,000 spinal cord injuries occur in the United States each year, diving is the fourth leading cause.
Safety Tips for Residential Swimming Pool Owners
If you have a swimming pool at home it is prudent to observe basic pool safety measures including the following:
• Install four-sided fencing at least four feet high
• Consider additional barriers: automatic door locks and alarms
• Clear the pool deck of toys—reduce temptation for the child
• Clear pool deck of slippery surface water
• Keep constant supervision when children are present
• Keep pools and alcohol separate
• Never dive in less than 10 feet of water
• Establish and enforce clear pool rules
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a swimming pool accident, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions regarding premises liability.