With Memorial Day bringing the unofficial start of summer, pools will be opening across the Chicagoland area. Whether you visit a public pool, a country club, or have a pool right in your own backyard, you should always remember that with the fun and recreation of swimming also comes a risk of injury and drowning accidents. Now is a good time to review swimming pool safety tips with your children and to remind yourself how to recognize possible hazards in and around pools to help prevent accidents.
Never Swim Unattended
First and foremost, your children should know never to swim alone. They should always have the supervision of an adult or lifeguard. As they get older, they should always swim with another friend who can call for help if something happens.
Pool Safety Enclosures
Pool owners should also always meet safety requirements to ensure that small children cannot wander into the pool area on their own. This includes having a barrier around the pool area with no gaps or holes, as well as a gate with a locking mechanism that is too high for a small child to reach. If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure the enclosure also prevents children from accessing the pool from inside your own house, as this is a common cause of accidents. If a pool owner does not take the necessary precautions to prevent children from falling into the pool unattended, they may be held liable if an accident does occur.
Follow all Rules and Warnings
Your children should be aware that each swimming pool is different and may have different rules to follow and warnings to heed. Common rules and warnings to emphasize include:
- No diving in certain areas
- Shallow end and deep end markers
- No running
- No lifeguard on duty
- No glass in pool area
The only way for patrons to know which rules and warnings apply to a certain pool area is for the property owner to post the necessary signs. Owners should post highly visible and easy-to-read signage around the pool area to make sure everyone knows the proper safety conduct and how to safely behave at that particular pool. Make sure to read all the applicable pool rules to children not old enough to read. Failing to post the proper warnings may be considered to be negligent if someone gets hurt because they didn’t know the safety rules.
Stay Away From Drains
If a pool owner complies with all safety requirements set out by federal law, they should have the proper covers on every pool and hot tub drain. If properly covered, a pool drain does not pose an inherent threat to swimmers. However, it is hard for the average swimmer to tell whether drain covers are in compliance and the cover may not be completely safe. For this reason, it can be wise to warn your children to steer clear of drains whenever possible.
Non-compliant drain covers have the potential to cause serious and often fatal injuries. If the cover is not safe, it can suction a person – especially a small child – to the drain. The person can then be stuck under water to the point of drowning and evisceration can even occur. Pool and hot tub drain accidents can be extremely traumatic as a result and every pool owner should ensure that their drains are safe and in full compliance with safety laws.
Alert an Adult if Something Is Wrong
There are many, many other hazards that a swimmer may encounter that could pose the risk of harm. Your child should know to inform a lifeguard or adult if they notice anything out of the ordinary while they are in the pool area so that a potential hazard can be addressed immediately. Common hazards to report include:
- Sharp edges of the pool that may prevent someone from holding on
- Sharpness on the bottom of the pool that may prevent a swimmer from putting their feet down
- Objects or tools left on the pool deck that could cause someone to trip and fall into the pool
- Broken ladders or diving boards that may cause someone to fall in
These are only a few examples of potentially harmful conditions that should be rectified as soon as possible, or the pool owner may be held liable for any injuries that result.
What if a Pool Accident Happens?
If a pool accident happens and you or your child suffer injuries, an attorney can help you determine whether the accident happened due to the negligence of the pool owner. If so, you may have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses. You should always have a premises liability lawyer handle every aspect of your property insurance claim or your personal injury lawsuit, if litigation is necessary.
In the event of a tragic pool accident, you need a law firm that regularly handles wrongful death claims in Illinois. Wrongful death laws dictate who can file a claim and what damages may be obtained. Our attorneys understand how difficult it is to unexpectedly lose a loved one. We handle this type of claim with compassion and commitment so that you can focus on your own recovery.
Personal injury and wrongful death claims can provide important compensation for you and your family after a swimming pool accident. However, you do not have an infinite amount of time to file a claim and your rights to compensation do not persist indefinitely. Instead, Illinois has strict statutes of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases. You should not wait to have an attorney evaluate your situation to advise you of your legal rights and the best course of action in your case.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney for Help Today
At the law firm of Abels & Annes, PC, we hope everyone in Chicago has a safe and enjoyable summer. However, in the event of an accident or injury, we are here to help. Our personal injury lawyers handle a wide range of cases and can evaluate your situation and advise you of your legal options. Please feel free to contact our office online or call 312-924-7575 to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team.