June 6, 2012 – The school year is ending and the summer season is just about to begin. This is the time of year when children head outdoors seeking the sun and some fun. Many kids will find relief from the heat in a cool swimming pool, but parents need to be aware of the dangers that exist. If the appropriate safety precautions are not taken, pool- related accidents could occur resulting in catastrophic injuries or even death. No matter where the swimming pool is located – at home, a neighbor’s house, a community park, or a hotel pool – parents need to be aware of safety hazards and take extra precautions to protect their children.
Many parents may not realize that children can drown in only a few inches of water and that most drowning incidents occur rather quickly and silently. In addition, not all pool-related injuries result in death; instead, some victims can suffer from a near- drowning accident and sustain serious injuries with long-range effects. These types of injuries can be devastating for the victims and their families. Many suffer from severe health consequences such as brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen suffered during the incident. These victims often times need life-long care for their permanent disabilities. In turn, the parents and caregivers are often faced with a great deal of emotional and financial stress.
To fully understand the significance of safety precautions in and around a pool, it is important to review the drowning statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in this country ten people die from drowning. Of those ten, two are children under the age of 15. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1-14 and the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1-4. Drowning injuries and deaths are not only preventable, but also predictable. These incidents can be prevented if the public is aware of the risk factors and take the necessary steps in implementing proper safety precautions.
There are many steps that can be taken by a property owner to prevent a serious swimming pool accident or drowning, including the following:
*Swim Lessons: If your child does not know how to swim, it is extremely important to make this a priority. Be advised, however, that learning how to swim is not a guarantee. Children can still drown, but knowing the basics of swimming may help prevent a drowning accident.
*Supervision: When taking your children to a pool, do not leave them unattended. A responsible adult should be designated to keep a watchful eye on the pool at all times. This adult should know how to swim and know CPR in the event of an emergency. Rescue devices need to be readily available. If a child cannot be located for any reason at all, always check the pool first.
*Installation of Safety Equipment: Homeowners are required to completely fence their pools with at least a four-foot high fence with a self-latching and self-closing gate. Pool covers can be also installed. In addition, alarms can be installed in a pool and also on the doors of homes with a pool.
*Drain Covers: The vacuum effect created by a pool drain can be powerful enough to hold a child at the bottom of a swimming pool. Make sure a pool is equipped with safe drain covers in order to prevent suction or entrapment injuries.
*Use safe pool toys and pool accessories: It is important that both adults and children use safe equipment when playing in or near a pool. Parents and pool owners should routinely check the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website to stay informed of any product recalls.
*No Diving in Shallow Water: Pool injuries are commonly caused by diving into shallow water. These injuries usually involve severe head and spinal injuries, often resulting in paralysis from the neck down.
*No running around the pool: As expected, the surfaces surrounding a pool are wet from the splashing water and pose a risk of a slip and fall injury. In order to avoid this type of injury, pool owners should install a surface area around the pool that is slip resistant and creates some traction. In addition, homeowners should ensure that the pool area is free of any obstacles that adults and children could trip over causing one to fall into the pool.
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger understand the significance of injury prevention, but when a pool-related accident occurs, we can help the victims and their families seek the best possible compensation for the injuries suffered. We are a team of experienced lawyers who have handled all types of personal injury lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our professionals are dedicated to advocating and protecting the rights of our clients.
If you or someone you love has been affected by an accident involving a swimming pool or have suffered as a result of a drowning or near-drowning injury, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys can help. We work to determine if there was fault by a negligent party in providing adequate security and supervision and then proceed with legal action if warranted. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, our lawyers represent clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including Allentown, Harrisburg, and Reading, as well as South Jersey in Camden County, Burlington County, Moorestown, Haddonfield, Collingswood, Cherry Hill and others. Call the personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger today at 1-800-222-8792 for a free consultation or submit an online inquiry.