Summertime is synonymous with swimming pool season, especially in the Sooner State. Oklahoma’s summers can get scorching hot, and there’s no better way to cool off than a quick dip in the pool. But it’s important to be always be aware of the many risks present at pools.
In addition to the threat of drowning, pools also pose many injury and illness risks to both swimmers and people who enjoy soaking up the sun’s rays near the water. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 5,000 people receive emergency care for injuries suffered at swimming pools annually. That’s why it’s so important to be cautious when swimming, especially when you’re at a public pool, such as a water park, community center, or hotel.
Swimming Injuries That Doctors Most Commonly Treat
Every time you’re in or near a swimming pool, you may be at risk of the following injuries:
- Head injuries—Head injuries can occur in swimming pools in a variety of ways. They can occur when jumping or diving into shallow water, especially if the depth of the water isn’t clearly marked. They can also occur when swimmers or sunbathers are walking on a slick surface near the water, causing them to lose their balance and strike their heads on the ground.
- Broken bones—The risk of slipping and falling near pools is extremely high. Many pools have textured surfaces on the ground near the water, but walkways just a short distance away may not have that added protection. When these surfaces get wet, they can become extremely slippery, resulting in falls that can lead to simple or compound fractures.
- Cuts—Poorly maintained pool equipment can be sharp and put swimmers at risk of cuts. Diving boards, ladders, and steps may have jagged edges. In addition, swimmers may suffer wounds due to uneven and rough surfaces on pool liners.
- Chemical injuries—Pools are safe to swim in because chemicals that help kill harmful bacteria are added to the water. But when too much chlorine or cleaning chemicals are added, the water can become dangerous and can cause swimmers to suffer adverse reactions.
- Illnesses—Pools can be breeding grounds for bacteria, even those that are chemically treated. When people with infectious diseases enter pools, germs can quickly spread in the water, putting other swimmers at risk of infection.
- Drain Entrapment—Swimmers can become entrapped in pool drains when their suction is too strong or their covers are missing or broken. Children are particularly at risk of drain entrapment, as their arms, hands, feet, and legs are small enough to fit in small drain openings.
- Electrocution—Water and electricity are a dangerous and often fatal mix. Electrocutions can be caused by faulty wiring, improperly grounded lighting and electrical appliances, and exposed wiring.
- Drowning—Drowning is always a risk at swimming pools, but pool owners and managers are required to mitigate it by having safety equipment and personnel nearby. All pools should be staffed by a lifeguard or have emergency flotation devices nearby that can be thrown to struggling swimmers.
It’s important to be safe and cautious at the pool, whether you’re splashing in the water or lounging poolside. And if you have kids, never take your eyes off them while they’re at the pool—even if lifeguards are present. Children can quickly and unexpectedly suffer serious injuries while swimming, not to mention the omnipresent threat of drowning.
What Are Common Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries?
There are many ways that guests can suffer serious injuries or even illnesses at poorly maintained swimming pools. They include:
- Wet walkways and surfaces—No running by the pool is something every kid hears, but it’s an important rule for a reason. Even the grippiest surfaces can become slick when wet, and the areas near pools are prime slip and fall locations.
- Broken glass—Many public and private pools ban glass containers for a good reason. People typically walk near pools without shoes, and even small shards of broken glass can result in serious injuries when stepped on.
- Inadequate signage—Pool depth should be clearly displayed to swimmers and divers. When signage is missing, swimmers may suffer serious injuries from jumping or diving into shallow areas of pools.
- Broken or malfunctioning equipment—Diving boards, slides, and ladders should work properly and be securely fastened. When these pieces of equipment fail or are poorly maintained, users can suffer severe injuries.
- Harmful water—Pools are supposed to maintain a delicate balance of chlorine and other cleaning chemicals to kill bacteria and keep the water safe for swimmers. When chlorine levels are too high, swimmers may experience harmful effects. And when levels are too low, dangerous germs may proliferate, putting swimmers at risk of illness and disease.
- Lack of supervision—Public pools should always have lifeguards on duty. When lifeguards aren’t supervising pools, or aren’t properly trained, the owners of those pools can be held liable after injuries or drownings.
These are just a few examples of common causes of swimming pool injuries. If you or someone you love was injured in a pool-related accident, the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at our Parrish DeVaughn can investigate what happened, determine who was responsible for your injury, and work to get you full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through, and we want to help any way we can.