Swimming pool and drowning accidents are often horribly tragic, as they often involve extremely young children. The water is a dangerous place for a child, even when there are adults around, and if unsupervised, it is an imminent threat to the child. In fact, among children aged one-four, drowning is the second-leading cause of death, and every day, two more children 14 or younger are fatally harmed this way. Most of those fatal injuries occur in the backyard or at a neighborhood park, which means that parents must remain vigilant at all times.
Of course, teenagers and adults are at risk too, and many swimming pool and drowning accidents are the result of poor maintenance or management. If such negligence is present, it may not matter how skilled someone is in the water, because a single mistake might prove fatal.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF SWIMMING POOL AND DROWNING ACCIDENTS?
Water is a constant hazard when someone enters it, so there are many factors that can contribute to an injury. However, most of these risks can be avoided with basic safety measures.
Some of the most frequent risk factors include:
- Unfenced water – the risk of fatal injury to young children decreases by about 80 percent if the water is fenced on all four sides, and not just protected by property fencing.
- Overcrowded water – in especially crowded water, a lifeguard may not be able to see someone who is struggling to stay above the water’s surface.
- Missing barrier or signage pointing out deep water – just cordoning off the deep areas with rope can give parents and lifeguards enough time to notice a child attempting to enter deep water.
- Murky water – poorly treated water will eventually become so cloudy that it is nearly impossible to see into from a distance.
- Lack of safety equipment and personnel – Sheppard’s hooks and throwing ropes must be available to rescue people from the water, and lifeguards may also be required in some instances.
- Malfunctioning lights, drains or ladders – these provide a safe experience for people in the water, and if any are not functioning correctly, it might be impossible to exit the water safely or see into it at night.
When swimming pool and drowning accidents are caused by one of these factors, liability will be determined using premises law. Premises law outlines who is responsible for injuries that occur due to a property feature. In general, whoever owns and is responsible for managing the water or pool will be liable if anyone is harmed due to negligence.
If someone is invited onto the property, or the property is open to all, then the property owner must alert all guests of hidden dangers around the water, provide safety equipment, maintain fencing, and keep all lights, drains and ladders in good working condition. These protections are not extended to people who trespass on the property, except for young children, who are considered particularly vulnerable to swimming pool and drowning accidents and must be kept out by secure fencing.
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their pools safe. When they don’t, they are risking lives and leaving themselves exposed to serious liability. If you or a loved one has been affected by a swimming pool accident in Houston, TX, contact us today.