Pool Safety: Pool Drownings Can Happen in A Flash

More than 3,500 people – many of them children – drown each year in the U.S. and many more suffer serious, irreversible injury in near-drowning incidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, for every fatal drowning incident involving a child 14 years old or younger, three children require emergency room treatment for submersion injuries and 40% of those require hospitalization, says the CDC. Non-fatal incidents can cause brain damage that results in long-term disabilities ranging from memory problems to the victim being left in a vegetative state.

With summer just a couple of months away, many families will be heading poolside at hotels across the country. It’s time for fun in the sun, and it’s also time for hotel management to review their pool safety policies to mitigate the risk of accidents and drownings, which are more common than many may think.

In fact, you can find numerous stories of child drowning and lawsuits brought on by the lack of loss preventative measures. For example, a $3.1 million lawsuit was recently awarded to a family of a 5-year-old child who drowned at a Louisville hotel. In another case in Kansas City, Missouri, a boy was found face down in the pool. Inspectors from the Kansas City Health Department found more than a dozen violations and shut down the pool at the hotel. Among the issues the inspectors found were an inability to see the bottom of the pool due to cloudiness, failure to maintain a log showing daily testing of the pool, no signs directing patrons to an emergency phone, and no signs indicating that the pool had no lifeguard on duty.

A hotel can be found liable for a swimming accident or drowning if it is found negligent in anticipating and avoiding a foreseeable hazard, resulting in preventable death or injury. To help ensure property owners and managers are taking the necessary precautions to prevent a drowning tragedy and other pool-related accidents on their property and minimize risk exposures, please review and share our Risk bulletin on drowning prevention as well as our Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act bulletin. In addition, for a more in-depth guide to loss prevention on swimming pools check out the Great American Swimming Pool Safety Program.

Proving that you’ve taken the steps to help stop an accident goes a long way.