6 Common Swimming Pool Hazards That Lead to Injury
When it comes to swimming pools, water isn’t the only hazard you need to worry about. Even under the best circumstances, pools can be very dangerous, but many pools have other hazards that increase the chances of injury even further. Some of the most common pool hazards include:
Good lighting is essential for pool safety. This is true whether you’re talking about a backyard pool, a community pool, or a pool in a place like a hotel.Not only is it important to have lighting that helps you see everyone who is in the water, the area surrounding the pool needs to be well lit so that people are able to see things like puddles of water and other trip hazards.
Inadequate Fencing & Uncovered Pools
Fencing and covers are other extremely important tools for helping keep people safe. Every year, hundreds of children drown in residential pools and fences and covers help prevent children from getting into the water without your permission. Even if you don’t have children of your own, keep in mind that pools and hot tubs can be considered an attractive nuisance.
Rules for pool covers and fencing can vary from location to location, so if you’re thinking about getting a pool, you’ll need to find out what your city’s regulations are. Generally speaking, fences around pools are required to be at least four feet tall and include a self-closing gate. Even if it’s an above-ground pool, you may still be required to have a fence around the pool.
When people think about all the potential hazards that exist with swimming pools, drains might go overlooked. But pools and hot tubs can have very powerful drains that can potentially catch a person’s hair or bathing suit if the drain isn’t covered. If someone gets caught in a pool drain, not only are they at risk for drowning if they’re trapped underwater, the force can also cause broken bones or damage internal organs. Even if a person is rescued and survives after being caught in a pool drain, there’s still a chance injuries could occur from the amount of time spent underwater.
Lack of Supervision
Safety equipment like fences and drain covers go a long way in helping people stay safe, but nothing takes the place of good supervision. If your children will be in a pool, don’t assume that you’ll hear a lot of noise if one of your children gets into trouble. A very common misconception about drowning is that people will start thrashing around and splashing to get attention. Drowning can actually be a very quiet process, so staying within earshot isn’t necessarily enough to protect them from drowning. It’s crucial to keep your children visually within your sight. You’ll also be able to put a stop to any bad behavior that could lead to injury, like running next to the pool or roughhousing in the pool.
Poor Water Clarity
Mention pools and people will probably imagine one with nice, clear water. But when pools aren’t being well maintained, water can become cloudy and make it difficult to see people when they’re in the water. Over the years, there have been many cases of people drowning in pools with murky water. If someone goes under the water, other people who could help might not be able to see them in time to realize that there is a problem. It’s estimated that poor water quality is a contributing factor in about 10% of drownings.
Inadequate Depth Markers
When you have a pool, the people who use it need to know exactly how deep the water is. It’s not always easy to gauge the depth of a pool just by looking at it and when people misjudge a pool’s depth, it can easily end in tragedy. For example, if someone were to dive into water that was shallower than it looked, they could end up with a devastating spinal cord injury. In some cases, a pool might not have depth markers at all or they might become faded over time.
The sad reality is that these types of hazards can easily be dealt with. But every year, far too many people are harmed by pool hazards such as these. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pool, don’t wait to find out about your legal options. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from an experienced Michigan personal injury lawyer has a history of handling cases like shallow water injuries. Contact us today to get started.
Image: iStock / ruzanna