A pool safety campaign has been launched jointly by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Michael Phelps Foundation. Over 75 percent of the drownings and pool-related injuries from 2012 to 2016 involved children under the age of five, according to a recent report from the CPSC.
Since it was formed over seven years ago, the Pool Safely campaign has gathered more than 1,000 partners that aid in public outreach and education to assist parents and families to learn vital safety measures in and around pools and spas. Some of the significant partners involved in the campaign include the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the U.S. YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts of America, and Walmart. The focus of this nationwide initiative is to reduce the number of fatal as well as non-fatal drownings or entrapments in swimming pools.
“We are making progress, but we need even more kids taking swim lessons, more adults serving as Water Watchers, more fences installed, and more people trained in CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]. Today’s swimming lesson with Michael and his Foundation serves as a reminder of the importance of all children learning how to swim – no matter where they live or what their circumstance,” said CPSC Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle in a press release.
Deadly Drownings and Pool-Related Injuries
Recent data on pool drownings and injuries emphasize the need for pool owners and operators to have adequate safety measures in place. The CPC reports that an incredible 50 percent of all drownings and pool injuries in children under the age of 15, happen at home. Community or public swimming pools were the site of the largest number of drownings in children under nine years of age.
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Pool Safety Checklist
To keep children safe this summer and going forward, pool owners or operators are advised to adhere to specific safety measures. These include: never leaving children unattended in a pool; designate a “water watcher” in the event there is no lifeguard on duty; install a safety barrier a minimum of four feet in height, around the perimeter of the pool; install self-closing gates that open outward from the pool; check that pool water, equipment and surroundings are free of hazards and properly maintained; ensure the ladder is removed and the pool covered when not in use in the event of an above ground pool.
According to safety authorities, the two leading causes of drowning and pool-injury accidents among young children, especially in residential pool settings, are insufficient pool barriers and lack of supervision.
Responsibility of Pool Owners
When important safety precautions are not taken, and injury or death occurs, pool owners and operators may be held responsible in a court of law. Failure to install a perimeter fence, leaving a pool gate unlocked, permitting small children to swim without supervision, or failure to prevent access to a swimming pool may be considered acts of negligence.
It is mandated that every swimming pool built or modified after 2006, by New York State law, be equipped with a pool alarm that will detect when a child enters the water. In addition, pool owners must be certain that all suction outlets are covered to avoid entrapment.
Statistics on Child Drownings
According to the CPSC, 350 children under age five drown in pools each year nationwide. Most of the deaths occur in June, July, and August. Drowning is the second leading cause of death (after motor vehicle accidents), in children under five. In some Sunbelt states including California, Florida, and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death to children under the age of five. An additional 2,600 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for near-drowning incidents with some of these submersion occurrences resulting in permanent brain damage.
Pool submersion accidents involving young children happen quickly. A child may drown in the time it takes to answer a phone. More than three out of four of the victims, or 77 percent, had been missing from sight for five minutes or less.
Legal Information Concerning Swimming Pool Injuries
If you or someone you know has been affected by a swimming pool-related injury or death, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact our personal injury attorneys at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).