Summer is upon us. The pools and water parks are in full swing. After the better part of a year off from your favorite pool or park due to COVID, it is a good time to remind us all of swimming pool safety. Fun in the water should not equate to danger in the water. All of us have some responsibility to look out for our own water safety, but owners and operators of swimming pools and water parks have a responsibility to make sure the premises do not add to the inherent risks.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tracks pool or spa-related injuries and deaths. On average there are 6,700, nonfatal drownings to children under the age of 15. Another 379 fatal drownings are annually reported to children younger than 15. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/2020-Submersion-Report-4-29-20.pdf
Here are a few tips to make sure your loved ones and you have a safe summer in the sun:
Is there adequate supervision?
Small pools may require that an adult specifically attending to children under the age of 12 be present. In larger public pools, how many lifeguards are on duty? Where are they positioned? Are some roaming while others observe from an elevated chair? When you are there, do the guards seem attentive, or do they spend more time chatting with other lifeguards or customers? Although there are varying standards, some sources suggest the ratio of lifeguards to pool patrons ought to be no greater than 25:1.
What is the water clarity?
Pool standards are exacting when it comes to water clarity. In short, if someone is in distress at the bottom of the pool, the water has to be clear enough for them to be spotted and recovered. Cloudy water is a “no go” factor. Not only may it hamper rescue efforts, it may also signal poor sanitation.
Is diving allowed?
If so, diving should only be allowed in specifically designed and designated diving wells. In small pools, diving should be disallowed altogether, as the diving “wells” are frequently of too small dimension to allow safe entry. In larger, public pools, diving can be done safely, so long as there is a designated diving well. The depth is somewhat a function of the height of the diving board or platform. Even dives from the pool deck should only be attempted in water that is at least 9 feet deep.
Is the pool deck properly maintained?
While many pools disallow running and horseplay, try keeping hardy 10-year olds under control. While such horseplay ought to be watched and disallowed, it is also important that pool decking be well-maintained to limit slipping or tripping hazards.
Does the pool have proper safety measures in place?
Certain equipment should be available at every pool, irrespective of size or whether it is public or private. Is there a “shepherd’s hook” used to help distressed swimmers to safety? Are there life preservers? Is there an automatic external defibrillator or “AED” present? They are easy to use with little or no experience in CPR. The machine does the work and specifically instructs the user. Is there a working telephone and is its location easy to spot and easy to access? Even the best of care results in accidents, and there is no substitute for preparedness.
If you or a loved one is the unfortunate victim of a swimming pool injury or wrongful death, it is wise to retain an attorney with specific experience in this field. At Monsees & Mayer , P.C. we have handled and tried cases related to defective swimming pools, negligent pool maintenance, and failure to rescue.