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As the summer quickly approaches, so do the anticipation and thrill of taking that first leap into a nice cool pool. Swimming pools are a summer favorite and the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of nature while escaping from the hot Texas sun. However, while swimming pools are inviting and a source of a good time, it only takes 25 seconds for a fun pool day to turn into a living nightmare. The number one cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4 is drowning, and most of these cases happen in the swimming pool. According to the CDC, about 390 deaths happen a year in swimming pools due to drowning.
The Premises Liability attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. understand the risks that are involved when swimming in a pool. While these risks are always present, they can be greatly minimized by practicing proper pool etiquette and following pool safety procedures. Before you and your family dive into a pool this summer, review these swimming pool safety tips:
Never Leave a Child Unattended
Children under the age of 13 should always be accompanied by an adult while they are in or near the water. If there are multiple adults present, you can take turns as to who is the official Water Watcher. This individual should not be reading, looking at their texts, or playing games either on their phone or with a deck of cards.
They should also have their phone close by at all times in case of emergency. If you or your designated Water Watcher notice that a child is missing, always check the pool first, as they may have fallen in and are unable to get out.
The presence of a lifeguard is not license to shirk the responsibility of watching your children in the pool. While the lifeguard is trained to handle water emergencies, they are only one person and may not always have their attention on your child. If you notice something is wrong or feel that you or someone else’s child is in danger, notify the lifeguard immediately, or emergency personnel if there is no lifeguard available. If you can safely do so, try to remove the child from the water to keep them from drowning.
Make Sure Your Children Know How to Swim
Swimming is not only a great activity for recreation and exercise but it is a life-saving skill. Enroll your children in swimming lessons to ensure that they know how to properly swim and stay calm in the water. There are free and reduced-cost options available for parents who may not have the resources to seek out professional training. These programs can be found at your local YMCA, Texas Swimming chapter, or Parks and Recreation Department.
Learn How to Perform CPR for Both Children and Adults
While it is not always a requirement for one’s job, it is important for everyone to know how to perform CPR. Oftentimes, bystanders are the first line of defense for a drowning victim. Learning CPR can help save your child or someone else’s life. If you are CPR certified, make sure that your certification is current. CPR classes can be found at hospitals, community centers, or through your local Texas American Red Cross.
Make Sure Children Know Not to Play Near Drains
Never let your child play near drains or suction outlets in the pool. This is especially true for shallow areas of the pool or spa. If you notice that a pool or spa has a broken, loose, or missing drain cover, do not enter the pool and notify pool personnel immediately.
Hair, loose sections of bathing suits, jewelry, or limbs can be sucked into the opening of the drain. This can lead to disembowelment, drowning, or other serious injuries. When you use a spa, make sure you always know where the emergency vacuum shutoff is before you get into the water.
If You Own a Pool, Make Sure Your Pool Drain Covers Are Compliant
Under the Pool and Spa Safety Act, all pools and spas must have a compliant anti-entrapment cover over their drain. This helps prevent serious injuries or death due to getting trapped under the water by the powerful suction of a drain. If your pool is not compliant, this puts your family and friends at risk.
Make Sure Your Have Safety Barriers Around Your Pool
Swimming pools fall under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine makes landowners responsible for injuries to a child that happens on their property, even if the child was a trespasser. This is because children do not have
the same reasoning capabilities as an adult and are unable to fully grasp the consequences of their actions when going to investigate something of interest to them, such as a swimming pool. Because of this, pools are required to have at least a four-foot-high fence around them and should not be climbable by children. The gate should be self-latching to protect children from entering without adult supervision.
Children should be taught to never try to climb a gate or fence and to never enter a pool without an adult around. Make sure your pool is visible from inside your house so that if a child were to wander into the pool, you can more easily see them. If you are fearful that you might miss them, you can always install a gate alarm for the pool area and keep the pool cover in working condition.
Was Your Child Injured In a Swimming Pool Accident?
Injuries in a swimming pool can lead to a dire situation very fast. From failure to have proper anti-entrapment devices on pool drains to pools that are in need of desperate repairs to a lifeguard that wasn’t performing their duties properly, it is important to know when these injuries were a direct result of negligence. The dedicated team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. can help you get the compensation you deserve for your child’s accident to help handle recovery costs. With Juan Hernandez, one of the 2% of Texas Board Certified Lawyers in Personal Injury Law, our experience and knowledge can help strengthen your case. Contact our team today to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.