Many of us purposely avoid keeping dangerous instruments in our house, and when we do, we take precautions. Maybe we do not own a gun, and if we do, we make sure it is locked up and separate from the bullets. Maybe we own knives, but they are well out of the way from where kids can get them. Yet, in many homes lives something that can be just as dangerous – a pool.
We think of pools as fun, and surely they should be. But pools can also be dangerous, whether it be for young ones, the elderly, the intoxicated, or any adult who simply can not swim. In many homes, the pool sits without a barrier, and in many cases, people traverse the area near the pool without supervision.
Laws Regulating Residential Pools
Maryland law provides that any residence with a pool must have a 4-foot barrier surrounding it. Not just any gates or barriers will do; the barriers must be self-latching, and must be free from larger gaps that would allow smaller kids from wedging through. Even above ground pools are included, with regulations about the steps that are used to access the pools.
Different counties can and have adopted different regulations, so you should check to make sure that any barrier you use, is compliant with your local laws.
Complying May Not Be Enough
But complying with the laws is not enough to ensure pool safety. Common law negligence can exist even when someone is not violating safety laws. In fact, often drowning injuries and deaths are simply caused by a lack of common sense. For example, in many cases parents use the pool as a babysitter, leaving many younger children in a pool unattended. Adults often forget that it only takes seconds for a child to drown.
Many pools also have drains that create a suction. Smaller limbs can get trapped in those drains. There are cheap commercial solutions you can buy to protect swimmers from these areas. Roughhousing around a pool, which can lead to head injuries and drowning, is often permitted by supervising adults.
In 2012, drowning was the second leading cause of death for children in Maryland aged 0-4 and the third leading cause for kids up to age 14. Kids should be watched closely in and around water.
Adults at Risk as Well
Even adults who can swim may be at risk. Pool parties where alcohol is served can pose a significant risk. Intoxicated adults can easily fall into a pool and lack the coordination to get out of it.
Pool areas are often left slippery, or riddled with pool toys or debris, leaving an environment that is ripe for falls by anybody, including guests to your home.
And of course, the elderly who may be unsteady, and who may be weak swimmers, should always be monitored around the pool area.
If you or someone you love has been injured by drowning or while in or around a pool, contact the accident attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss the handling of your case.