Summer is upon us and millions of children across the United States, and especially in sunny Florida, will be enjoying swimming in a pool. Unfortunately, a study released by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine in March, 2013 reveals that swimming pool injuries are on the rise.
According to the study, there is a swimming related injury reported every 6 minutes, an increase of almost 13,000 injuries than reported in 1990. Data compiled between the period of 1990 and 2008 revealed shocking results. In children age 7 and older, the increase in pool related injuries jumped by almost 30%. Children age 16 and under accounted for well over half of total swimming related injuries.
Interestingly, 87% of water related injuries were reported in or around pools, whereas 13% were reported to occur in or around natural bodies of water, like beaches and lakes.
The study found that the primary injuries suffered by victims of swimming related accidents included punctures, cuts, scrapes, and bruises and were most often sustained to the head, neck, and lower body. Falls, and diving into shallow water accounted for the vast majority of pool related injuries.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a comprehensive study of drowning incidents involving children under 5 years of old in Arizona, California and Florida determined that 75% of the victims were between 1 and 3 years of age, and 65% of this group were boys. This is true even though at the time of the incidents most of the children were being supervised by one or both parents. 65% of all the incidents reviewed happened in a pool owned by the child’s family and only 33% of the incidents happened in pools owned by friends or relatives.
According to medical professionals, the primary reason for the increase in injuries is a lack of supervision / attentiveness to children and young adults. Florida in particular has seen an increase in pool related injuries over the past several years due to increased population and number of homes with swimming pools.
How to Avoid an Accident
There are many steps that can be taken to avoid pool accidents and injuries. Even if your child is a strong swimmer, it is recommended to secure your pool with a locking pool fence when not in use. Covers and pool alarms can also help prevent unwanted accidents. When your youngsters are in the pool, pay careful attention to them at all times, especially if you have guests who may not be as strong a swimmer as your own children. Minimize the amount of “horse play” allowed in the pool. Remember, a serious pool related accident/injury can happen in the blink of an eye.
Who is responsible when an Injury Occurs
When someone has sustained a pool related injury, legal action often results. Anyone who owns a pool of their own, or who is responsible to manage a swimming pool may be responsible for injuries suffered by their guests. Negligence or recklessness in monitoring or supervising the pool can result in liability for injury or even death. An injured person and/or their family may be able to seek an award of monetary damages from the responsible parties which can end up costing the pool owner, or their homeowner’s insurer, thousands of dollars in damages. If you or someone you know has questions or legal concerns regarding a pool related injury, please feel free to contact our firm.