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The Epidemic of Swimming Pool Accidents, Diving Injuries, and Alcohol-Related Swimming Accidents
Every year, over five hundred children under the age of ten drown in preventable swimming pool drownings, and thousands more go to hospital emergency rooms with catastrophic brain or spinal cord injuries caused by serious hypoxia or blunt force trauma experienced in a preventable swimming pool accident. Last year, over 60,000 people in the United States required emergency room treatment for injuries sustained in swimming pool accidents, such as when falling off of malfunctioning swimming pool slides or broken diving boards or when diving into too-shallow water. The numbers are staggering; some social scientists have noted that a swimming pool at a house is statistically one-hundred times more likely to cause a fatal accident than even a handgun at the house.
A person can drown in less than 2 inches of water and sustain brain damage from submersion for only a minute or two. During the summer season, there are approximately ten water-related deaths per day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 4 fatal drowning victims are children aged 14 and younger. For every child who drowns, another four receive medical treatment for non-fatal submersion and brain injuries.
Many Swimming Pool Accidents Are Caused By Negligent Supervision
The CDC has determined that the major risk factors for swimming pools accident and other drownings are a lack of barriers to a pool or spa and insufficient supervision. Most children who drown in pools were last seen in the home, were in the care of one or both parents, and had been out of sight for less than five minutes. With adult or adolescent deaths, alcohol is often a factor, because it impairs balance, coordination, and judgment. In the summer months, sun exposure, heat, high light levels, and dehydration all exacerbate the effects of alcohol, making it an even more dangerous mixture with water-based activities like swimming and boating.
Many Swimming Pools Have Unsafe And Illegally Dangerous Drains
Apart from negligence pool supervision or reckless behavior, many swimming pool accidents are caused by defective and dangerous equipment. On December 19, 2008, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, a federal law designed to prevent the tragic and hidden hazard of drain entrapment in pools and spas, became effective. The Pool and Spa Safety Act requires installation of anti-entrapment and drain covers and other safety systems. In particular, all public pools and spas must have an ASME/ANSI A112.19-8-2007 compliant drain cover installed and have a second anti-entrapment system installed when there is only one single main drain.