As summertime approaches, families need to start finding ways to have affordable family fun. As hot weather comes upon us all, not everyone is lucky enough to have beach access. Swimming pools have become the center of summer fun in Pennsylvania. But swimming pools are more than just summer fun. They are also a place where catastrophic injuries and deaths to young children who are left unsupervised occur.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 3,000 deaths from drowning each year. This includes the 300 children under the age of five that drown in residential and apartment swimming pools every year. Additionally, more than 2,000 children under the age of five are treated in hospital emergency rooms from submersion injuries occurring in swimming pools. Submersion injuries are injuries caused from near-drowning. Near-drowning generally is defined as survival, at least temporarily, after suffocation by submersion in a liquid medium. Traditionally, this type of injury is accompanied by the loss of consciousness.
Children suffering from submersion injuries may have any of the following:
- Confusion, trouble thinking or remembering, or loss of consciousness;
- Abdominal (stomach) enlargement, nausea (upset stomach), or vomiting (throwing up);
- Cold skin that may appear as white to bluish-purple patches;
- Coughing, increased breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing;
- Weak or absent pulse; or
- Increased or decreased heartbeat or low blood pressure.
Drowning accidents in Philadelphia are best prevented by adult supervision. Most accidents involving drowning or severe injury are statistically proven to occur to children under five years of age who cannot swim, are unsupervised, or fall into a pool or a pool cover with water on top. Accidents involving toddlers between the ages of two and three are most likely to occur when toddlers wander off and away from a parent’s supervision. Installing barriers such as a fence and locked gate is a great way to prevent unsupervised children from entering a pool area.
The Pennsylvania building code states that any body of water more than 24-inches deep is considered a pool and must be fenced on all sides with a structure at least 48-inches high. A removable or locking ladder is required and the ladder must be removed or locked whenever the pool is not in use.
For in-ground pools, all fence gates must be self-closing and latching. A house may be used as the fourth side of the fence, but all doors leading to the pool area must have an audible warning device if no other gate or door is between the house and the pool. A power safety cover may also be used.
Hot tubs and spas do not require fencing as long as they have a cover that complies with the American Society for Testing and Materials F1346 standard. Covers that come from the hot tub manufacturer are in compliance with this standard.
For over three decades, the experienced Philadelphia swimming pool accident attorneys of Reiff & Bily have been committed to fighting for the rights of those who suffered preventable swimming pool and water related injuries. If you, your child, or a loved one has suffered a swimming pool injury or drowning accident, you may be able to file a claim for premises liability or negligence, and receive financial compensation for medical costs, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Our experienced lawyers have investigated numerous swimming pool and drowning accidents. We understand many different complex factors that have resulted in unfortunate accidents, permanent disability, and untimely death related to pool safety and drowning. If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered a swimming pool drowning accident, please contact us for a free, no obligation consultation toll free at (800) 421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.