Top Swimming Pool Hazards

Written by Aitken Aitken Cohn

July 30, 2021

Summer is in full swing in Southern California, which means many are flocking to private and public pools to beat the heat. Swimming pools are a great source of fun for the entire family, but accidents can and do happen, so it is vital to know the dangers associated with them. If you own a swimming pool or plan on visiting a public pool, it’s essential to take safety precautions, especially if children are attending as well. An accident can occur in seconds, but the good news is that they are mostly preventable by enforcing and following safety measures. Here is an overview of the top swimming pool hazards to watch out for this summer.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 1–4 have the highest drowning rates, with most of the accidents happening in swimming pools. The World Health Organization reported that drowning was the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 236,000 annual drowning deaths worldwide. Many victims who survive a drowning accident are left with severe brain damage that can result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and even coma. One way to prevent a child from accessing the pool area unsupervised is by adding a layer of protection, such as a pool fence around the swimming pool. In California, any pools built in 2018 or later must now have two safety measures installed following an update to the California Pool Safety Act in 2018.

Diving Incidents

Several things contribute to the severity of a diving accident, including the slope of the surface under the water and the depth of the water, which can confuse a diver and cause a serious accident. Diving into shallow water can cause brain, head, or spinal injuries and even paralysis. The attorneys at Aitken Aitken Cohn recently secured an $11 million settlement on behalf of a young man who was left paralyzed after diving into the shallow side of the pool, mistaking it for the deep end due to the design of the pool. Diving accidents are often severe, and in extreme cases, they can result in traumatic brain injuries and accidental drowning. Diving boards also pose a risk to swimmers if not handled with precaution. There are many slippery surfaces near a pool, including diving boards, and swimmers may slip and fall, hitting their head on the board or the surrounding areas.

Pool Drain Accidents

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), here are some leading causes of pool drain accidents:

  • Hair entanglement: hair can get caught in a faulty or broken
  • Drain Cover: an improperly covered or poorly maintained pool drain cover
  • Limbs: arms, legs, and fingers can become lodged in a suction opening
  • Body: any body part that can cover a drain can be held down by suction
  • Evisceration: sitting on a broken or uncovered drain can cause injuries or disembowelment
  • Mechanical: jewelry or bathing suits can become entangled in a drain cover

All pool owners should ensure that they have drain covers compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) to avoid entrapment hazards. A pool with a broken, loose, or missing drain cover should be closed until a licensed professional makes repairs.

Pool Chemical Safety

According to a report by the Washington Post, an average of 4,535 people visit the ER each year for treatment related to exposure to pool chemicals. Pool chemicals are added to treat the water and maintain it crystal clear but can be toxic when mishandled. According to the CDC, more than 56 percent of the injuries occurred at private pools, with poisoning listed as the most common injury due to the breathing in of chemical fumes, vapors, or gases. When handling pool chemicals, always wear appropriate safety gear such as goggles and gloves, always handle in a well-ventilated area, and never mix products. ALWAYS store chemicals away from children’s reach.

The CPSC launched pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives, a national campaign to reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries, and entrapments. The campaign is a call-to-action for consumers and industry to adopt proven water safety steps and join a national conversation about pool and spa safety by sharing best practices and other life-saving information.

Pool Safely recommended the following safety steps to stay safer in and around the water:

  • Always watch your children and never leave them unattended
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings
  • If a child goes missing, always check the pool area first
  • Ensure all pools and spas-both in your backyard and any public pool you may visit- have compliant drain covers
  • Install proper barriers, caps, and alarms on and around your pool and spa
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults
  • Teach children how to swim

Drowning accident lawsuits typically involve three types of law: negligence or personal injury law, product liability, and premise liability, and you may be able to receive compensation for your expenses and suffering through a drowning injury lawsuit with the help of our team. The qualified Orange County personal injury attorneys at Aitken Aitken Cohn have expert knowledge and experience in each legal area and can evaluate your case and determine your legal rights and options.