Pool Safety in Alabama Pools - Haygood Cleveland Pierce Thompson & Short

Pool Safety and Children – Who is Responsible for Accidents?

When the dog days of summer hit in Alabama, jumping into a swimming pool is one of the best ways to cool off. While taking a dip can help you beat the heat and produce hours of family fun, swimming pools also pose a danger for everyone, particularly children.

Unfortunately, a day of relaxation could end in tragedy if a child is hurt or, worse, killed in a pool-related accident. If a homeowner or business fails to create safe conditions or warn visitors of known hazards, they could be held responsible for the damages associated with these heart-breaking incidents.

Why Pool Safety is Essential

The Centers for Disease Control reports that as many as one person each day loses their life to a drowning accident in this country. Of those fatalities, 77% impact children under the age of 5. Drowning is now the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., and it is the number one accident-related killer among children ages 1-4.

Drowning is a significant public health concern in the U.S. and throughout Alabama. Sadly, young children are often the victims of drowning accidents because they are magnetically drawn to swimming pools.

The Serious Nature of Pool Accidents

Instead of the violent incidents that we witness in the movies, drowning victims often quietly and quickly disappear under the surface and may not be noticed immediately unless someone is paying attention.

If death does not occur from drowning, there are near-drowning accidents that can result in significant injury and impairment. Stanford University reports that near-drowning victims can suffer from moderate to severe brain injuries as well as sustain damage to their central nervous system. Other injuries related to near-drowning accidents can include kidney impairment, lung damage, liver damage, and myocardial injury.

Common Causes of Pool-Related Injuries

Swimming pools can be found on either public or private property. There are hazards that exist whether the pool is in a backyard, recreation center, hotel, gym, or apartment complex. Some of the most common hazards and causes of pool-related accidents include:

  • Defective equipment. Defective equipment, particularly pool drains, are common causes of serious injuries including broken bones, amputations, drowning, and fatalities.
  • Poor maintenance. Lack of or poor pool maintenance can lead to cloudy water, unsafe chemicals, and malfunctioning equipment such as filters and lights.
  • Unsafe design. The way that swimming pool is designed must be safe, or it can lead to injury or death. This includes the mechanical functions as well as safety fences, gates, and locks.
  • Poorly trained staff. Lifeguards who are not sufficiently trained will not be able to respond appropriately in an emergency.
  • Standing water. Wet surfaces around a pool can lead to severe slip and fall accidents and injuries.

Who is Liable for a Swimming Pool Accident?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, one or more parties could be held liable when an injury occurs in a swimming pool. These include:

  • Property owners. In most cases, the property owner is responsible for taking reasonable precautions to keep swimmers free from harm. Even if a child was a trespasser, the property owner could still be liable since the pool is considered an “attractive nuisance.”
  • Manufacturers. A company that manufactures swimming pool materials, equipment, and chemicals could be held liable if there is a defect.
  • Pool service companies. A third-party pool service company could be liable if they created any hazards while working.
  • Businesses. Other potentially responsible parties who may not be property owners include schools, daycares, fitness centers, and summer camps.

Keeping Kids Safe Around the Swimming Pool

Make Your Pool Difficult to Access

Your pool should be very difficult for children to get into. A fence is a good start, but it is likely not enough. Ensure that the fence is high enough that it can’t be scaled and consider what type of gate will best protect little ones. A gate that automatically swings shut when left open ensures that your pool gate is never unintentionally left open. You’ll also want a gate that you can lock to prevent trespassers and late-night swimmers from sneaking in. The more steps you have to go through to get to your pool, the less likely it is that a child will accidentally wander into it and drown.

Set Up Alarms

In addition to fences and locked gates, make sure that you are immediately notified if someone does access the pool when it should be empty. Swimming pool alarms go off when they detect waves on the surface or the sound of someone falling into the water. You could also set up alarms that go off when the gate is opened outside a certain timeframe.

Prioritize Swimming Lessons

Knowing how to swim doesn’t prevent tragedy, but it does give a child a better chance at keeping themselves above water long enough to yell for help. If you have children at home, make sure they get into swimming lessons as soon as possible after you decide to build a pool. Consider keeping them in lessons long enough to learn multiple strokes and safe swimming techniques for maximum protection.

Don’t Let Neighborhood Kids Roam Free

Once word of your pool gets around, you may find that you suddenly become much more popular. However, don’t let neighborhood children help themselves to your pool. There must be restrictions put in place to ensure that everyone is swimming safely.

You may want to limit the amount of people in the pool at any given time, only allow children in if they have a parent with them or require that children swim at a certain skill level before entering the pool. This may require you to talk to the parents of the neighborhood to enforce your rules. You may get some pushback, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Make Sure There’s Always an Adult Watching

Children should never be swimming alone. Whether your kids are swimming for ten minutes or three hours, there must be an adult whose sole focus is pool safety. This is especially true if they have friends or neighborhood kids over. In that situation, you may want to have multiple adults on hand to help out. If you’re worried about a non-swimmer getting hurt or drowning, you may even want to require that every child swimming has a parent or guardian present.

Speak with an Experienced Alabama Pool Accident Lawyer

If your child has been involved in a serious swimming pool accident due to the negligence of another party, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. These are tragic events that can be emotionally and financially devastating, but the experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson LLP can help your family deal with the complex legal issues associated with your case.

Our firm has extensive history in helping victims collect the compensation they are due, and your family should focus on healing instead of fighting these battles alone. Contact our Auburn office now at 334-821-3892 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *