There is not much that is more enjoyable than jumping into a cold pool on a hot summer’s day. While swimming is a great way for families to get outdoors and enjoy the summer months, when swimming pools pose great dangers for adults and children when they are not properly maintained or lack the appropriate life-saving equipment required by law. When drowning deaths occur as a result of poorly marked swimming pools or improper pool maintenance, families can hold wrongdoers accountable through swimming pool lawsuits.
Just this past weekend, four young children died in the Chicago area in swimming pool accidents. The Chicago Tribune reports that one child died at a relative’s home, another at a country club swimming pool, and two others in a water-filled pit in Gary. These tragic accidents highlight the dangers that swimming pools pose to children and importance of parents and pool owners doing their part to ensure a safe summer for everyone. Serious injuries or fatalities can occur when pools are not operated, secured, or properly maintained. Oftentimes pool accidents lead to death when victims are deprived of oxygen, but victims who survive may be faced with life-altering brain injuries from which they require lifelong medical care and support. We also know that others may suffer serious and debilitating spinal cord injuries in diving accidents.
What can pool owners and operators do to help ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for family, friends and patrons? One common cause of drowning is unclean and murky pool water which can hinder a swimmer’s visibility to guardians, lifeguards, and others sharing the pool. Owners should keep pool water properly balanced and clean to ensure visibility for swimmers and guards alike. At public pools and water parks, overcrowded facilities make it difficult for swimmers to move around and can cause swimmers to be pushed and held underwater. Pool operators can remedy this by setting and enforcing strict capacity limitations. Another important issue is inadequately marked shallow and deep ends. Deep ends should be marked to provide knowledge of water that is above wading level, and shallow ends should be marked so people know not to dive and avoid head injury.
Additionally, pool owners and operators should have proper fencing and locks to prevent children from wandering into a pool area and also to prevent trespassers. Public pool operators should staff their facilities with properly trained and experienced lifeguards to protect patrons. Pool owners should also check to make sure that all pool parts- including powerful pool drains- work properly. A number of children died as a result of being held under water by the suctioning power of older model drain covers, so owners should replace drain covers with newer models that lessen this risk. And finally slippery pool decks can lead to slip and fall accidents so owners and operators should enforce no running policies in and around pool areas.
According to the American Red Cross, there are also precautions that swimmers and their guardians should take when enjoying time in and around swimming pools. First, parents are encouraged to teach their children to swim at an early age. Providing children with basic swimming skills could prevent tragic accidents from occurring. Parents and guardians should also never leave children unattended near water, and provide young children or any inexperienced swimmers in your party with U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Parents should always maintain constant supervision over children at play in or around water. If a child goes missing, always check the water first because it only takes seconds to prevent a death or disability from drowning.
According to the National Traffic Safety Institute, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death. Every year over 1000 children under the age of 14 drown, and another 16,000 must be admitted to hospitals for near-drowning incidents. Many of these accidents can be avoided if pool owners and operators maintain safe environments for swimmers. When pool owners do their part and parents/guardians instill safe swimming practices in their children from a young age, it can decrease the incidence of swimming pool related deaths and drowning in and around the Chicago area.
If you or someone in your family has suffered injury or wrongful death in a drowning or swimming pool accident, you may be able to hold the landowner or facility liable for your injuries and losses through a personal injury lawsuit. This lawsuit could take a number of forms, from product liability if a swimming pool had defective parts that led to injury, or premises liability if a pool was not operated properly or did not follow regulations for the facility. Our attorneys have successfully represented families in drowning accident lawsuits, including a $3 million pool accident settlement. Contact our firm for a free consultation, and we would be happy to discuss your potential case with you.