What You Need to Know About Kids and Swimming Pool Safety
Each year hundreds of children die in swimming pool and spa accidents. Many thousands more suffer serious injuries. Pool safety is therefore never optional. Even a non-fatal drowning accident can cause traumatic brain injury to a child. In many cases, swimming accidents are the result of negligent maintenance by pool owners or defects in the pool’s design or manufacture.
Federal Officials Release Updated Figures on Child Pool Drownings
Recently the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released its latest statistics on child drowning accidents. The report, prepared by the Commission’s Division of Hazard Analysis, analyzed data provided by hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States. Among its key findings, the report said that between 2013 and 2015, there was an average of 5,600 “non-fatal” injuries suffered each year by children under the age of 15 in pool- or spa-related drownings. The overwhelming majority of those injuries, approximately 77 percent, involved children under the age of 5. Boys were also twice as likely as girls to be involved in a drowning accident.
Tragically, the CPSC said an average of 367 children died each year between 2011 and 2013 from drowning accidents, although the actual number has declined, from 382 reported deaths in 2011 to 355 in 2013. The CPSC noted this continues a trend as annual child drowning fatalities are down 11 percent from 2010. Again, the majority of deaths—an average of 285 per year—were reported among children under the age of 5.
It is also worth noting that the majority of non-fatal drowning accidents (57 percent) and fatalities (87 percent) among children occurred in residential or home pools as opposed to public facilities. There were also significantly more reported fatalities involving in-ground pools versus above-ground and portable pools or spas.
Has Your Child Been Injured Due to a Pool Owner’s Negligence?
The CPSC also determined that a majority of the fatal accidents involving children under the age of 5 could be attributed to “lost contact or knowledge of whereabouts” on the part of the child’s caregiver—in other words, in adequate adult supervision. However, another 23 percent of accidents were attributed to either the child’s “close proximity to the pool” just before drowning or a “compromised” or “circumvented” barrier surrounding the pool. Indeed, children who are injured or killed in drowning accidents are frequently able to access a residential pool due to the lack of a proper safety fence. For its part, the CPSC strongly recommends a “four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas.”
If your child has been injured to an improperly secured or maintained pool, you may be entitled to seek damages against the negligent property owner. An experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer can advise you on this and many other issues including product liability related to a defectively designed pool. Contact the offices of Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law, in Clinton or Knoxville today if you need to speak with someone right away.