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Swim Hazards to Be on the Lookout for This Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2018

Summer in Baltimore is best spent poolside…at least, until someone falls victim to an unintentional drowning accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning takes about 10 lives per day. Swimming hazards can arise in any body of water, to someone of any age; especially if the property owner is negligent in the maintenance of the premises. The best way to keep yourself and your family safe while swimming this summer is to stay on the lookout for a few common hazards.

Negligent Supervisors/No Lifeguards

If someone invites your child to a pool party, check that there will be responsible, sober adults supervising and chaperoning pool play at all times. Children are most at risk of unintentional drowning deaths. About one in five fatalities are children under the age of 14. Even if the swimming event is at a community center or school, accidents happen. Such was the case in the tragic drowning of 12-year-old Abdullahi Charif at a St. Louis school, when the supervising teacher was apparently on his iPad. Doublecheck that someone will be supervising the party.

Lack of Barriers

Property owners legally have to keep wandering children safe from unintentional drowning accidents as best as they can. This involves putting up fences, gates, pool covers, and other barriers to reasonably prevent access to swimming pools and other bodies of water on the premises. Swimming pools are “attractive nuisances” in the eyes of the law, resulting in stricter property owner rules. This means they are hazards especially prone to attracting children. As a pool owner, do your duty by installing barriers.

Dive Hazards

Diving and water recreational activities are some of the most common causes of serious and fatal spinal cord injuries. Jarring the head, neck, and spine against the bottom of a shallow pool or against a rock or other object in the water can fracture the spine and cause permanent paralysis and other damage. It is the property owner’s duty to post “No Diving” and other such warning signs in shallow waters. Make sure to read all signs surrounding a body of water before jumping in.

Communicable Diseases

Think twice before jumping into a swimming pool or hot tub with water that looks questionable – especially if you’re swimming at a hotel. One study found that 32% of disease outbreaks in treated recreational waters were at hotels. Diseases can travel through contaminated water if someone sick is swimming. Look out for water that appears brown, green, or otherwise discolored, as well as slimy-looking pools and hot tubs. Don’t swallow water wherever you swim. Even chlorine and other water treatments can’t kill all strands of communicable water diseases.

Lack of Safety Devices

You should always have life jackets and other safety equipment on hand when swimming. Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t enough to eliminate the need for close adult supervision. Never leave children unattended by a pool, even with safety gear. The equipment could have a defect that makes it unsafe for your child to use, such as this life jacket with a dangerous design that flips the child over onto his/her face in the water. If a defective pool product causes injuries, you might have a case against the manufacturer.

Slip and Fall Hazards

Not all pool accidents happen in the water. Slip and falls on pool decks can be just as harmful, running a risk of serious head and brain injuries. Pool decks should have non-slip material, but be cautious on wet floors regardless. Do not permit children to run on pool area surfaces. If someone does get hurt in a pool area slip and fall, the property owner might be liable for failing to prevent the accident with proper decking and/or warning signs.