With summertime rapidly approaching, hot sunny days cannot be far behind. Few things go better with a hot summer day than a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. While refreshing, however, that dip in the pool is not risk free, as accidents in and around swimming pools result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Young children are particularly at risk, especially those too young to know how to swim. Summer is a time for having fun in and around water, but be sure to exercise necessary cautions.
Pool-Related Injuries and Deaths Happen Frequently
When discussing swimming pool accidents, drownings often are among the first topics raised, and might even be the only topic discussed. Drownings and near-drownings, which are not fatal but can result in severe injuries, are the cause of thousands of deaths and injuries every year. From 2005 through 2014, 3,536 people on average drowned every year. Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. each year. There were more than 3,700 people who died from drowning across the country in 2016. While those drownings took place in all bodies of water, many of those drownings, fatal and non-fatal, occur in swimming pools. Children younger than the age of 15 account for a significant number of those drownings and near-drownings.
Each year across the U.S., about 350 children less than 15 years old drown in swimming pools. An additional 5,900 children suffer injuries from near-drownings that require treatment in emergency rooms. Data for 2014 through 2016 show an average of 363 drownings in pools of children younger than 15 each year. Just in the summer of 2019, at least 150 children below the age of 15 drowned in pools in the U.S., including seven drownings in Georgia.
In addition to fatal drownings, thousands more people suffer injuries every year as a result of accidents in or around pools or spas. From 2016 through 2018, an estimated 6,600 children younger than 15 years old were treated in emergency rooms annually. Many of these injuries stemmed from non-fatal near drownings, while others were the result of poolside accidents, such as slips, falls, and diving accidents.
Non-Fatal Pool Accidents Can be Devastating
Injuries suffered in accidents in and around pools can result in injuries that are serious and life-altering, including near-fatal drownings. Non-fatal drownings can result in serious brain damage, resulting in long-term health issues. Anoxic brain injuries, common in near-drownings, occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen for a protracted period of time. If that deprivation is long enough, it can result in brain damage that is severe and permanent. Such brain damages can cause memory loss, loss of movement, cognitive issues, vision loss, or even persistent coma.
Near-drownings are only one among many kinds of accidents in and around pools that can result in brain injuries. Pool-related accidents, in and out of the water, frequently cause blows to the head that result in traumatic brain injuries, including such actions as diving into shallow water and striking your head on the bottom – diving is the fifth leading cause each year of spinal cord injuries or falls at poolside, such as on wet tile or other slippery surfaces at poolside, that lead to hitting your head on the pool deck.