Preventing Drowning Accidents in California Swimming Pools
Santa Clara County Premises Liability Lawyers
In two separate incidents this summer, bystanders are credited with saving lives of near-drowning victims at San Jose, California, apartment complex pools. At one location, an unnamed man jumped into a pool to pull out a little girl and her father. At another location, a nine-year-old boy retrieved a three-year-old girl from the bottom of a pool while a woman pulled out the girls grandfather. In both cases, witnesses reported seeing the girls on the mens backs or shoulders prior to the accidents.
Playing in swimming pools may be fun and refreshing, but it can be very dangerous. Children, as well as adults, may misjudge their abilities or their locations in the pool, and may end up in situations they are unable to handle. To prevent significant injury or even death due to swimming pool accidents, it is important to take safety precautions when visiting a pool in California. Such precautions may include:
- Enrolling children in swimming lessons
- Mandating children to wear flotation devices
- Requiring adult supervision at aquatic activities
- Honoring public and private pool safety rules and measures
- Checking for pool safety equipment such as drain covers before swimming
- Being trained and/or certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
By state law, the Swimming Pool Safety Act requires private residential pools built or remodeled after January 1, 2007, to be equipped with at least one of seven specific drowning prevention safety features. These include fencing, self-closing and latching gate, approved pool covering and alarms. Private pool owners may also check with their insurance companies to determine if additional safety measures need to be engaged.
Public pools are also required to comply with safety measures. In 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly bill 1020, the Public Pool and Spa Safety Act, requiring anti-entrapment devices and systems be placed in public pools. The act required public swimming pools and spas built prior to January 1, 2010, to be retrofitted and new pools to incorporate approved safety devices to prevent entrapment hazards. This law brings California into conformance with the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007. Failure to comply with state and federal pool safety regulations may open a private or public pool owner or government entity to a liability claim in the event of an accident or pool-related injury.