Swimming Pool Injuries and Drownings
Arizona has one of the highest ratios of swimming pools per capital in the nation, so it may not be surprising that Arizona also experiences a large number of swimming pool injuries and drownings each year.
Unfortunately most of these injuries and deaths are due to negligence and could have been prevented before they occurred. Young children are disproportionately affected with children under the age of 14 being the most likely to drown in a pool each year.
Whether due to the negligence design or maintenance of a pool, the lack of safety equipment, or the general negligence of a pool owner, swimming pool accidents take too many lives and cause too many injuries in Arizona each year.Injuries Caused by Swimming Pools
The spotlight on pool-related injuries often focuses on drownings and other causes of death but there are many more injuries than deaths caused each year in Arizona. Some of the most common injuries result from submersion under water where a swimmer suffers from a lack of oxygen due to an inability to breath. A lack of oxygen can adversely affect all parts of the body, including causing mental and cognitive impairments, a decrease in motor skills or coordination, personality changes, loss of memory, inability to perform routine physical tasks, coma, or even brain death.
Spine injuries are often common among swimmers, especially when a swimmer comes into contact with a fixed surface while traveling at a high rate of speed. An improperly placed diving board, a water slide with a poorly positioned end location, or even a negligently designed pool may cause a swimmer to strike her head on the bottom or sides of pool, causing broken bones in the neck or back. Spine injuries are serious and may require surgical repair. Others cause permanent paralysis, leaving the swimmer with a lifetime of medical and nursing bills as well as a limited or inability to care for oneself.
Still other injuries are common, including broken bones, injuries to the limbs, facial injuries including to the ears and eyes, and damage to internal organs. While swimming pools can be fun, they can also be very dangerous and are a cause of thousands of injuries each year.Drownings in Swimming Pools
Drownings are common in swimming pools in Arizona and across the nation. While a focus is placed on younger victims, people of all ages drown each year in pools. It takes only a few inches of water and only a few minutes submerged in water for a person to drown, making it easy and fast for a serious incident to occur.
One of the most common causes of drownings in swimming pools is the lack of a fence or an ineffective fence surrounding the pool. If a fence or other barrier is not in place, unintended users, including children, can access the pool with ease and enter the water without adult supervision. This can turn tragic in a matter of minutes if no one becomes aware of the child.
Fences may be ineffective if there is another means to access the pool. Every year, children in Arizona die after crawling through doggie doors to get access to a pool area. Experts advise that if you have a child in a home with a pool, you should keep the doggie door locked at all times to prevent the child from accessing the water.
Children are also at risk when surface sensors, or devices that sound when a disruption is noted in the surface of the pool water, are not used. These devices come in many styles and models and are relatively inexpensive but can sound an alarm when an object, including a child, breaches the otherwise calm surface of the pool, alerting adults in the area to the dangerous situation.
Swimmers of all ages are at risk of drowning if they do not have the necessary skills to be a confident swimmer. Less skilled and less comfortable swimmers, including young children who have not been properly introduced to the water, are more likely to drown than those swimmers with greater experience. If you are not a skilled swimmer, you should consider using a life saving floatation device, like a life jacket, whenever you enter a pool.
Finally, alcohol contributes to approximately 70 percent of the drowning deaths among adults and teenagers every year. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and makes swimmers less able to stay safely afloat, increasing the risk of death or serious injury.Tips for Safe Swimming
If you plan to swim in a pool or allow a child to swim in a pool, you should take certain steps to make the experience as safe as possible for all involved. Consider taking a water safety course designed for beginners that will introduce swimmers to the dangers in a pool as well as safety tips, like how to stay afloat, how to avoid fatigue while swimming, and what to do if you need help while in the water.
In addition to a safety course, less experienced swimmers should use a life jacket or other life saving floatation device while in the water. When picking out a floatation device, be aware that plastic inflatables, noodles, and other water toys are not designed to save a person from drowning.
Never swim alone and always closely supervise a child who is swimming. Water-related accidents can happen in seconds, meaning that you should never step away from a pool when a child is swimming, even for a moment. Also, never consume alcohol while swimming as it only increases the risks of death or injury.
Swimming pool accidents often result from the negligence of the owner of the pool or the person who maintains the pool which means that an injured party may have a right to recover against that negligent person. If you have been injured while swimming in a pool or if your family member has been injured or killed, you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are knowledgeable swimming pool accident attorneys who know the law and who fight for our clients’ rights. Please call us today at (602) 819-5191 or toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER for a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case and your rights. If you prefer, you can contact us online as well. We have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so please call us today.