As “Staycations” become more popular as a quick getaway at a hotel or resort close to home, the number of hotel properties offering indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs is also on the rise. Several hotels in the GTA and southern Ontario now offer water slides and water parks as well.
As any parent knows, when you check into a hotel, the first thing the kids want to do is head to the swimming pool. And who can blame them! Pools and waterslides can provide hours of fun for people of all ages. For waterslides, it is important to read and obey the safety rules and guidelines in terms of height and age restrictions. They are posted for good reason. The same goes for pool rules posted on deck. Adult supervision is required whenever children are around water, even if a lifeguard is present.
Here’s why: The Canadian Red Cross in association with the Coroner’s Office studied water-related fatality statistics, and reported the following findings; 10,511 water-related fatalities occurred over the 20 year period (1991-2010) with 32% of the deaths associated with boating accidents, 22% from aquatic accidents with another 19% from unexpected falls, 16% were transportation-related fatalities, 7% related to bathing incidents and 4% unknown causes. If you add the unexpected falls into water with aquatic accidents, that is 35% of water-related fatalities. Ontario had by far the highest number of water-related fatalities at 3,214 during the 20 year period.
Many commercial pools at hotels, resorts, campgrounds and public places are not designed for diving. The seemingly clear blue water and similar coloured pool floor make it hard to judge water depth. Then other factors come into play which may make it unsafe for diving, such as bevelled edges on the pool walls, steps, and the surface changes from the deep to shallow end. Just as it seems second nature to dip our toe into the water to check to see how cold it is, it’s also advisable to follow the Canadian Red Cross suggestion of “feet-first” to jump into the pool (not dive) to check the pool depth and variables.
The sad truth is that some commercial pools may not be properly maintained, pool safety standards are not properly enforced, and pool attendants may not be properly trained to deal with accidents or trauma. Safety rules (such as no running on the pool deck, no pushing and no diving) must be strictly enforced by the attending staff. A lifeguard must also enforce the rules in terms of ratio of pool users to prevent injury and drowning.
Contrary to what we may think, a child can drown in a small depth of water and very quietly. It only takes a minute for an unsupervised toddler to fall into water. Drowning accidents sometimes occur when someone has accidentally fallen into the pool. This is why adult supervision is required and ideally at arm’s length.
Pool accidents can occur from faulty or broken equipment like diving boards, ladders, handrails, slippery untreated deck surfaces, inadequate cleaning and safety measures (such as algae forming on the pool deck), improperly maintained drainage systems or equipment and missing pool safety equipment and devises.
Swimming accidents, and diving accidents in particular, often cause life-altering consequences as a result of a diver hitting their head on the pool floor resulting in catastrophic brain injury, orthopedic injury, and spinal cord injury including paralysis. Pool and diving accidents can have dire consequences on the victim and the family, including physical, emotional and financial pain and suffering. That is why it is imperative that the accident be thoroughly investigated by a skilled lawyer, who will undertake a thorough examination to determine the underlying case of the accident, including an assessment of the pool depth, the slope of the pool bottom, depth markers, No Diving signs (or lack of), the conduct of the attendant as well as that of the injured party. This will determine potential liability.
If you or your child has been seriously injured in a commercial pool, hot tub, water slide or water park, please call Horowitz Injury Law today at 416-925-4100 for a free initial consultation to see if you are eligible for compensation. We will investigate the circumstances under which the accident happened and will assess all relevant medical expenses and other losses to get you the compensation you and your family deserve.