Santa Rosa Swimming Pool Accident Attorney
Northern California has the perfect climate for swimming: relatively short and not-too-cold winters with long and warm to just-plain-hot spring, summer, and fall months. There is a lot more to having a swimming pool than just using it for fun and games in the summer, however. Swimming pool accidents can easily ruin summer fun if property owners are not careful.
Swimming Pool Liability
Drowning and near-drowning accidents are common occurrences during the summer months, oftentimes due to improper supervision or unsafe conditions of the pool or property. As such, a property owner is responsible for the supervision and safety of children and other visitors on his or her property and this includes the pool area.
If a pool owner does not provide adequate supervision or does not adhere to safety requirements as provided under the California Swimming Pool Safety Act, then that owner may be held liable for the injuries or even drownings that result from his or her negligence under premises liability law.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10 people die as the result of unintentional drowning every day. More than one in five people who are killed in drowning accidents are children who are 14-years-old or younger.
In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children one to 14-years-old. These statistics don’t even include the number of people who suffer brain damage and develop long-term disabilities because of near-drowning accidents. Some near-drowning victims even lose all basic functioning, leaving them in a vegetative state for the rest of their lives.
Many people enjoy swimming pools and don’t think about drowning. The statistics can be quite alarming, especially for parents with young kids.
- Each year over 1,000 children (about 250 under the age of 5) die in swimming related accidents and over 5,000 others are hospitalized. Additionally, spas and whirlpools kill over 200 children each year.
- In 2002, an estimated 1,600 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for water related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of these deaths and injuries occurred in backyard pools.
- Children under the age of 1 are most likely to drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets.
- Children ages 1 to 4 years, are most likely to drown in residential swimming pools. (Most young children who drown in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- Alcohol use and swimming is involved in almost 50 % of all adolescent and adult deaths Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgement, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.
Preventing Swimming Accidents
Drowning and near-drowning accidents are usually the result of poor supervision, lack of pool safety features, or unsafe surrounding conditions. All of these risk factors are avoidable, however, and in the case of pool safety features such as fencing, even required by law.
Following these guidelines can ensure that you maintain a safe pool area and keep yourself free of premises liability issues:
- Always supervise the use of your swimming pool, regardless of the age of visitors, but especially when the visitors are children;
- Make sure guests understand that they are responsible for supervising their own children around the pool area;
- Keep the surrounding pool area clean and void of loose objects that people can trip over;
- Enclose your pool with a barrier, such as a fence, with a securable gate so young children cannot access it on their own; and
- Make sure home doors that lead to the pool area are closed and secure. According to the CDC, most young children, ages one to four, who drowned in residential pools were last seen in the house only a few minutes before.
- Always be on the lookout for children in or around the pool area.
- Teach children basic water safety.
- Avoid entrapment by teaching children not to play with pool drains, pipes, and other openings.
- Have a phone close by at all times when you or your family is using a pool or spa.
- If you child is missing, look for them in the pool or spa first.
- Share pool safety instructions with all family, friends, and neighbors.
- Learn how to swim and teach your children to swim.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults and update regularly.
- If your house serves as part of the barrier or fence around a pool, install a pool alarm and use it at all times.
- Make sure your pool or spa has drain covers.
- Have lifesaving equipment such as life rings or floats available for use.
- Make sure all water is clear and not cloudy.
- If a child or adult has long hair, advise them to wear a bathing cap or take precautions so as to avoid being sucked into underwater intakes or drains.
Holding Negligent Property Owners Accountable
If a swimming pool owner fails to supervise visitors swimming or playing around the pool, leaves toys or other fall hazards on the floor around the pool, leaves the back door open with young children in the house, or does not have at least one of the seven possible required safety features for California swimming pools, he or she may be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that occur on their property.
If you or your child has suffered a serious injury in California as the result of swimming pool owner negligence, the dedicated legal team at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC can help you hold the responsible property owner liable for your losses.
Contact us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
We handle swimming pool accidents and drowning cases in Sonoma County, Marin County and the entire North Bay.
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