In Raleigh, North Carolina an elementary school child was pulled from the apartment complex pool by emergency officials after they received reports of a drowning. The boy had been swimming with his friends, and emergency workers attempted to resuscitate him before taking him to the hospital. There was no lifeguard on duty. The boy died the next morning at a university hospital.
North Carolina has a lot of tourist attractions and athletic facilities that provide swimming pools to guests and members. Several residential facilities, like the apartment in the story above, also offer indoor or outdoor pools for residents and guests of the residents. While a great pastime during the hot summer months, swimming pools and other bodies of water can readily become a dangerous environment for those who use them, especially children.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), drowning is the second most common cause of injury death for children age 5 and younger in the United States. A recent study published by Pediatrics, found out that around two-thirds of pediatricians, family physicians, and pediatric nurse practitioners who serve families with young children in Los Angeles County did not know that drowning caused more deaths among children than ingesting toxins or using firearms. This study shows that even medical professionals are unaware of the extensive risks that drowning poses to young children.
The North Carolina Administrative Codes (NCAC) thoroughly outlines the safety features pools must have for public use. Some important requirements include the placement and location of depth markings (for minimum and maximum depths), the placement of signs like “no diving” or “no lifeguard on duty”, and the use of artificial lighting for pools open at night. Public pools are supposed to be enclosed by a fence, wall, building, or combination of the three to avoid accidental drownings of those who could not tell a swimming pool was present. The more communication there is of the pool, its depth, and how to get out, the safer the experience will be. Life saving equipment shall always be available in case an emergency does occur.
All institutions that provide public pools must follow these safety guidelines, as they are under a duty to provide safe premises for those they invite onto their property or reasonably expect, like guests of those who live in a residential complex or are members of the club with the pool. Failure to provide safe premises creates liability for the owners of the pool and property if their negligence results in injury or death.
The North Carolina Personal Injury attorneys, Arlene and Herbert Auger, have over 40 years of combined experience negotiating and litigating on behalf of injured clients. With several 6-figure settlements under their belts, they know how to maximize the compensation you are entitled to and need for your living and medical expenses. If you or someone you know has been injured in a swimming pool or drowning accident, contact one of our skilled attorneys at (888) 487-0835 for a free, confidential consultation.
Related Blog Posts:
Teenager Drowns in Public Pool, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 8, 2010
Is Your Local Swimming Pool Safe?, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 17, 2010
A teenager, who witnesses say could not swim, drowned Saturday in a public pool in High Point, NC. It is unknown why the 17 year old Anthony Hayes was in nearly 13 feet of water when it has been reported that he was unable to swim.
North Carolina law requires that there be a minimum of 24 square feet of water surface area, per person, in areas of the pool that are deeper than 5 feet. Investigators also report that there were 5 lifeguards on staff at the time of the incident. One of the lifeguards noticed the teen under water in the deep end and he retrieved the teen and immediately started CPR.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 through 19, with toddlers and teenage boys being the highest risk. The AAP recommends that children above the age of 4 learn how to swim.
Our North Carolina attorneys are familiar with the laws governing both public and private swimming pools.
The federal Pool and Safety Act went into effect in December 2008, yet hundreds of pool owners in North Carolina have still not complied with the law, and are at risk of having their pool closed. The federal law applies to public access pools, and state regulations that mirror the federal law have also been enacted.
These laws apply to public pools as well as those in hotels, gyms, apartment complexes, and subdivisions. They provide safety guidelines that require, among other things, that said pools be equipped with drain covers that prevent jewelry, hair, fingers, and toes from being sucked into a drain.
According to the NC Division of Environmental Health, as many as 1,000 pools statewide might be closed. Mecklenburg County has already received more than 1,000 public pool permit applications. While most have already been approved, some permits that were granted are now being revoked and pools are being closed, as random inspections are finding that the required changes were not actually made. Mecklenburg County Health Department will continue to conduct random inspections, and will close pools where necessary.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 83 entrapments involving swimming pool drains from 1999 to 2008. Of those entrapments, 11 were fatalities, most involving children under the age of 15.
One of the most highly publicized swimming pool accidents in the country occurred right here in North Carolina. In that case, a young child sat on a drain at the bottom of the pool, as children often do, but the drain was missing its cover. The tremendous suction from the drain caused the child to lose a great portion of her intestines.
Our North Carolina injury attorneys are available to help if you or a family member is injured in a swimming pool accident.