Pool Perils and Personal Injury

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In Arizona, swimming pools are practically a necessity, providing people of all ages an opportunity to cool off, exercise and even to receive physical therapy. Unfortunately, pools themselves and their surrounding areas are sometimes the cause of Arizonans’ injuries. Whether slips on pool decks, diving accidents or even drownings, Arizona pools are the sites of numerous serious accidents each year.

Dangers exist even when pools are not in use

While the most common sources of swimming pool accidents involve unsafe conditions or risky behavior while the pool is in use, accidents can occur even when pools are out of commission for maintenance or repair. In a recent accident, an Arizona teen was critically injured while cleaning a pool holding only 2 feet of water at the time of the accident. The 17-year-old was rushed to the hospital for treatment; rescue workers on the scene speculated that the boy might have been electrocuted via a submersible pump found running at the scene of the accident. This case illustrates the diverse range of dangers that arise in swimming pool areas.

Legal requirements

To protect citizens against accidents, Arizona has developed a strong body of law to promote swimming pool safety and punish those who permit unsafe conditions to persist. For residential pools at homes in which a child under 6 resides, Arizona legal requirements include:

  • Enclosures such as walls, fences, or other barriers that are at least five feet high and at least 20 inches from the pool, and/or motorized pool covers with a key switch
  • Protective covering for any windows in the home that open out directly into the pool area
  • Self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward, with latches located at least 54 inches above the ground

The law also gives municipalities the authority to enact more stringent regulations for pools. In the event of an accident, failure to comply with such requirements may provide strong evidence of negligence in any personal injury case that follows.

No substitute for vigilance

Perhaps the most important thing parents must remember when they take young ones into a swimming pool area is to keep children in sight at all times. A young mother in Florence recently lost her 2-year-old daughter when the child drowned in an area swimming pool. Children near pools require constant supervision from the moment they enter the vicinity of the swimming area — the few minutes during which the mother lost track of her child was enough time to lose her daughter forever.