The Dangers of Swimming Pools in Virginia
By Griff O'Hanlon, Virginia Premises Liability Attorney
As experienced premises liability lawyers, we are well aware of some of the serious hazards posed by swimming pools in Virginia.
As the weather gets warmer, there can be nothing better than jumping into the cool waters of a pool. However, swimming pools are deceptively dangerous and should be treated with the utmost care.
Earlier this month, a toddler drowned in a swimming pool on Old Ridge Road in Virginia Beach. The child had wandered into a yard that held the above-ground pool The City of Virginia Beach, requires pools to be fenced, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Almost 400 children aged 14 or under die in swimming pool accidents every year in the United States and 2,700 emergency room incidents are linked to pools every year. These may be pools in yards, community pools, pools at sports centers or hotels. In some cases, a hotel, center or landlord, might be liable for these deaths under the law of premises liability which we describe here.
There are a number of dangers that are linked to swimming pools. Some may not be immediately obvious.
Top Five Dangers of Swimming Pools
1 – Drowning – Children are at particular risk from drowning and you should always make sure kids can swim before going into a pool. You should supervise younger children and not assume they will be protected by buoyancy aids or lifejackets. Where a pool is supervised, a hotel or a sporting facility may be held liable if a lifeguard is negligent or fails to render assistance to a drowning swimmer.
2 – Diving Boards – Diving boards are a major source of accidents. The area around diving boards should be clearly marked to stop swimmers coming into contact with divers. Too many divers using a board at the same time or drinking alcohol and diving can be a recipe for disaster. The most serious forms of diving accidents are head and spinal injuries. If a diver hits the floor of the pool, it may have been too shallow for a diving board to be put there in the first place and an establishment can be liable for injuries.
3 – Electrical Hazards – We know water and electricity can be a deadly combination. However, there are electrical features in and around pools such as pumps, lights, heaters and salt systems. If they are incorrectly installed, swimmers could be injured. Pool lights have led to deaths. When storms are nearby, pool staff have a duty to evacuate the pool to keep users safe.
4 The Main Drain – Swimmers should avoid big drains that have powerful suction. There have been cases in which drains have sucked in hair or body parts with tragic consequences.
The vacuum effect in the drains of pools can hold down swimmers and cause drowning. ABC News cites one incident in which “four adult men were unable to pull a young girl from the grasp of a deadly drain.” The feature said from 1999 to 2008, 83 cases of suction entrapment resulted in 11 deaths and 69 injuries.
5 Pool Chemicals – Aside from the issue about the dangers posed to health by chemicals in the water, the failure to properly store chemicals around a pool, can lead to illness and injury. If chemicals are left around, children can get into them. Chlorine and acids are especially dangerous and must always be sealed tightly.
This list is not exhaustive and hot tubs have also been linked to injuries and illnesses. If you or your child has been injured at a swimming pool or spa, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against a building owner, a maintenance company, a local authority, a housing development or another entity. Call our premises liability team today for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.