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Swimming Pool Accidents

Child Related Swimming Pool Accidents

From water parks to your own backyard, swimming pools have become a necessity for families across the United States. While swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to cool off and enjoy your summer, they also come with life-threatening risks with which all parents should be aware.

Americans love to swim — especially children. Among children and teens between the age of 7 and 17, swimming is the number one most popular recreational activity. Sadly, every year hundreds of children are injured and killed due to a drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children aged 1-4 years. More than 60 percent of fatal drownings of 0 to 4 year-old children occur in swimming pools. Some fatal drownings are the result of negligent property owners who have failed to provide a safe environment for your child to swim.


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on average there are 5,600 pool- or spa-related submersion injuries treated in emergency rooms each year involving children under 15. In addition:

  • Children between the ages of one and three-years-old represented 64% of submersion injuries.
  • Roughly 367 fatalities are reported each year; 76% of submersion fatalities occur in children under the age of five.
  • Pool and spa accidents are most likely to occur in warmer months and peak in June.
  • 48% of submersion injuries and 73% of fatalities occur at a residence.

Nonfatal submersion injuries can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.


Similar to any other premises liability case, if the pool’s property owner is found to be negligent in keeping the area safe for you and your children, you may be entitled to compensation. Here are a few causes of pool accidents:

  • Failure to maintain water clarity
  • Inattentive and untrained Life Guards
  • Failure to maintain self latching and closing gates that keep young children from entering pool area
  • Failure to maintain pool logs as required by state laws
  • Vacuum drains that do not have proper covers can cause serious or fatal results
  • Lack of safety equipment on hand such as shepard hooks and ring buoys with throw ropes
  • Lack of flotation safety lines separating deep and shallow areas of pool
  • Unclear depth markers that prevent swimmers from knowing what the depth of the pool is
  • Lack of certified and properly trained pool staff responsible for pool upkeep
  • Defective pool equipment such as filters and pool pumps that affect water clarity
  • Lack of pool ladders that allow easy exit from pools
  • Emergency phone near pool not working or non-existent
  • Overcrowded pools with too many people in the pool at one time
  • Inadequate light for pool area
  • Defective pool lights

The CPSC defines “circulation entrapment” as being caught in the water circulation system in a pool or spa, which includes the drain and suction outlets. Here are some facts about circulation entrapment:

  • Between 2011 and 2015, there were 20 incidents of reported circulation entrapment injuries.
    • Out of the 20 incidents, only one victim was fatally injured.
  • 78 percent of the victims of circulation entrapment were younger than 15 years old.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of victims were trapped in a suction incident.
  • 35 percent of circulation entrapment incidents involved entrapment of a limb.

Whether the children are swimming in your backyard or at a community pool, these five swimming pool safety tips will help keep children safe in the water.

  1. Never leave children unattended in or near the water.
    • Keep an eye on children at all times while they are partaking in a swim or playing near the water’s edge.
  2. Teach children how to swim early.
    • Swimming is fun, a healthy exercise, and a potential life saver.
  3. Keep children away from drains and suction outlets.
    • Tell your children to avoid playing or swimming near drains and suction outlets, where a child’s hair, jewelry, or bathing suit can get caught.
  4. Install a fence, barrier, alarm system or cover to keep kids from entering the pool area without your knowledge.
    • The pool should only be accessible through a self-closing or self-latching gate.
  5. Become CPR certified. Know how to administer CPR to both children and adults in case of an emergency.


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