If you have suffered injury in or near a swimming pool, or if a family member has been injured or drowned in a swimming pool, contact the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham swimming pool injury attorneys at Cross & Smith today.
Swimming pools are a great form of outdoor recreation, particularly on hot Alabama summer days. But swimming pools also present many dangers to pool users. Water parks, public swimming pools, private pools, hotel pools, and hot tubs all have the potential for serious injury. Many times these dangers can be controlled or even eliminated by those who own and operate swimming pools. When these dangers are not properly managed, serious injury and even death can result.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there was an estimated average of 383 pool and spa-related fatalities in America per year from 2006 through 2008, and an average of 5,100 submersions that resulted in trips to the emergency room. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in 2002 there were 62 unintentional drowning deaths in Alabama alone.
Slippery poolside conditions are normal at swimming pools, but sometimes those conditions can exceed what pool goers would expect and become a hazard. This can lead to severe falls, and broken bones and other injuries can easily result. Diving boards and slides also present severe risks of injury. Every year, shallow dives lead to spinal injuries and can even lead to death or paralysis.
Swimming pools present a particular risk to young children. According to the CPSC, over 70% of the injuries and fatalities involving swimming pools and spas involve children under the age of five. While young children should never be left unattended near a swimming pool, according to the APDH 88% of children were under some form of supervision when they drowned, and most young children who drowned at pools had been last seen in the home and were out of sight for less than five minutes. Floating toys do little to help prevent drowning, and can often draw curious children into the water. Suction drains are an additional danger to young children, and suction drain deaths led to recent federal legislation establishing minimum safety standards for public pools.
What constitutes reasonable safety measures will depend upon the situation. The ADPH recommends that four-sided isolation fencing at least five feet high, with self-closing and self-latching gates, should be installed around any pool to prevent young children from accessing the pool. While a lifeguard or posted safety rules may not be necessary in every instance, proper fencing and pool covers are important safety devices that should generally be in place. The ADPH recommendations and other common safety practices recommended by the CSPC provide a baseline for the reasonable safety precautions a pool owner should take. In addition, where lifeguards are present, they are required to perform their jobs in accordance with proper procedures and training. Lifeguarding at a swimming pool is a serious responsibility that requires diligence and strict attention to all pool users.
Based on a full investigation of the facts of any specific case, a skilled Alabama swimming pool injury attorney should be able to assess whether the safety precautions in place fell below a prudent standard of care. The attorneys at Cross & Smith have handled numerous swimming pool accident cases in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, and we understand the special dangers of swimming pools to children. If you or a family member has been injured at a swimming pool, call our office for a free confidential consultation at (877) 791-0618.