Swimming pool accidents are common during the warm weather months due to more people using pools. However, families in Nashville and across the country must be aware that certain accidents can lead to lifelong injuries. In the worst cases, as we all know from reading news reports each year, children and young adults can fatally drown.
While this is a very difficult topic to discuss due to what can happen to victims and their families, it is important that you have the resources and information to swim safely during the last months of summer and fall.
1) Supervise Your Children
Federal estimates show why this is perhaps the most important swimming safety tip. Estimates published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that 163 children 15 years old or younger fatally drowned between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2017. Seventy-percent of these deaths involved children under 5 years old.
The death toll was even higher in 2016, where 205 children and young adolescents died due to fatal drowning incidents. All of these deaths took place in swimming pools and spas, perhaps much like the one you may have in your backyard.
Supervision is crucial when it comes to swimming pool safety. It only takes two minutes of oxygen deprivation to suffer permanent brain damage. This means that even simple tasks, such as answering the doorbell, could be enough time for your child to suffer a life-altering or fatal injury if left unsupervised.
If you cannot supervise your child while he or she is swimming, then it may be possible to ask a trusted friend or family member.
Supervision is also important for teenagers and adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends asking a friend or family member to swim with you while using a pool. If you are able, then you should pick a swimming pool with lifeguards.
2) Avoid Heavy Drinking or Prescription Drug Use
If you are going to be swimming, then it is important to stay sober. People drown or suffer serious accidents each year due to heavy alcohol consumption while using pools or spas. Alcohol use is even considered dangerous while using a spa due to the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Loss of coordination is a risk you should avoid while walking around slippery surfaces or heights, such as a diving board. Alcohol, especially heavy amounts, causes issues with coordination and can slow your reflexes, which would make it more difficult to safely position yourself during a fall.
Heavy alcohol use also causes a lack of executive function, which means it negatively affects your ability to make decisions about how to behave safely around swimming pool hazards.
3) Use Barriers for Your Private Pool
Your swimming pool must correctly use barriers to prevent unauthorized access, such as children sneaking into your backyard to use your pool unsupervised. Pool covers and alarms also help prevent unauthorized access.
Failure to follow regulations could mean you are fined. In the worst-case scenario, you could be liable for any damages incurred by minor who enters your pool and suffers harm.
4) Teach Your Children to Swim
You should teach your children to swim with a professional instructor. This will help your child in the event he or she falls into a swimming pool while unattended or while your attention is focused elsewhere (such as a book or text message).
The YMCA or your local Parks and Recreation Department may offer supervised swimming courses. These options may be more affordable than private lessons.
5) Tell Your Children to Avoid Drains
Drains are responsible for dozens of deaths and injuries involving children. In fact, federal lawmakers created the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act to prevent swimming and spa drain deaths. The law requires drains to meet certain requirements.
Unfortunately, some businesses may still use unsafe drains. There was a case in South Carolina last year where a pool drain almost drowned a boy.
You have no way of knowing whether a business or private residence is using drains that are in compliance with state and federal laws.
6) Know What to Do After an Accident
Tragedy can strike without any warning, even if you are overly cautious with your safety or the safety of your children. While you may take steps to protect your children during the summer, businesses or other property owners may neglect their pools and spas. Water parks also contain hazardous conditions.
An attorney can help you determine if it is possible to seek compensation for any expenses caused by an injury or loss. It is important to call an attorney soon after the accident occurs so he or she can preserve evidence. There is also a statute of limitations for filing a claim.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer in Nashville
The Law Office of Stanley A. Davis can help parents after a swimming pool accident. Attorney Stan Davis can help you determine if you have legal options you could pursue against a homeowner, business or recreational center.