Each year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in swimming pool accidents. The majority of accidents involve diving mishaps or falls, drowning, and near-fatal submersions. Less common, but just as tragic, are drain entrapments. Children and adults—even strong swimmers—can become trapped by a pool drain and held under water until they drown. Tragically, most of these accidents can be prevented by following pool safety guidelines and being attentive around water.
Recreational Water Illness
A recreational water illness (RWI) is spread by swallowing, breathing, or being in contact with spa or swimming pool water that has not been treated properly. RWI outbreaks can occur in residential pools, but are most often found in public pools which have not been properly maintained. Pool owners must make sure that proper pH and chlorine levels are maintained. But, just as chlorine is needed to prevent an RWI, proper handling of the chemicals is needed to prevent inhalation or chemical burns.
As every parent knows, a toddler can be gone from your sight in an instant and by the time their absence is noticed, it could already be too late. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), seventy-five percent of children killed or injured in submersion accidents are between the ages of one and three. The best way to prevent drowning and submersion accidents in residential pools is to install and maintain proper fencing that prohibits children from entering the pool area.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act
Named for the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker, this is the major federal pool safety law. James Baker’s granddaughter was killed in 2002 when she became trapped by the drain in a hot tub. The law was passed in 2007 in response to numerous drowning and serious injuries caused by broken, missing or faulty drain covers. Unfortunately, the law is not working as well as it should. Experts agree that more education and better administration of funds is necessary to successfully implement the law. The law was supposed to award over $4 million in grants for states to bring their pool safety codes up to federal standards, but so far not one state has done so. Pool ownership has a lot of responsibilities. Swimming clubs, recreational facilities, and residential owners have a responsibility to follow federal, state and local safety regulations. If an owner of a pool is negligent and does not maintain their pool adequately, they could be held liable for any injuries their negligence has caused.
Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Can Rely On
In summer, swimming accidents are unfortunately very common. If you or someone you love is injured through the negligence of another person, it is important to seek legal help immediately. At Phillips Law Firm, we have successfully represented swimming accident victims in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma, and throughout the State of Washington. Call us today for a free case evaluation at 1-800-708-6000.