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Swimming Pool Accident Claims in the UK

Swimming pool accidents in the UK are more common than you might think. Pools can be a dangerous place, particularly for children during the summer months. In the past decade, an average of 200 youngsters aged up to 19 years have gone to hospital each year as a result of swimming accidents.

Tragically, an average of 12 children per year have drowned while swimming. The biggest number of accidents occur among under-fives. Studies also show around 50% of people suffering an accident or fatality didn't even intend to get wet. They were spectators caught out by unexpected slips, trips and falls from the poolside into the water.

Data from the National Water Safety Forum shows that the importance of safety around a swimming pool can't be over-emphasised, whether it's at public baths, a private pool, a kiddies' paddling pool, or even a hot-tub. Any water-related environment has the potential for disaster.

Swimming pool

© Microgen / Shutterstock.com


What are the main causes of accidents?

According to figures from solicitors dealing with accident claims, being injured as a spectator due to slipping at the side of the pool is one of the top causes of accidents, causing injuries including a broken ankle, wrist or other bone. Other common injuries are cut feet due to sharp edges or broken tiles around the pool or under the water, and bruises caused by trips and falls.

Other people have cut their feet on broken glass, despite warnings that spectators must not take drinks into the pool area in glass containers. Some accidents have been caused by poorly-maintained facilities, with the pool operator being found negligent.

Another cause of compensation claims is illnesses that have been caused by parasites in the swimming pool water or a concentration of excessive chemicals. Defective pool drainage systems and poor signposts, with insufficient warnings of deep water, have also been cited in compensation claims following accidents.

This list of problems is not exhaustive but gives an inkling into the main issues people face when visiting a swimming pool, whether they're a swimmer or a spectator. The pool operators have a legal duty of care for all users.


Why are slips, trips and falls so prevalent?

It's easy to understand why these particular accidents occur so regularly. By nature, the poolside is slippery, especially at well-used facilities in peak season - hence the larger number of accidents in summer.

Heavily used facilities can attract standing water at the sides, making them extra slippery. For this reason, it's advisable to use safety measures to reduce the risk of accidents. Simple warning signs advising of a wet floor are useful. Even though it seems obvious, people may need reminding - signs fulfil the operator's duty of care.

In addition, wet area pool matting can reduce the risks of slips on a wet floor, or trips over uneven tiles. Safety matting can be used in all wet areas where people might be at risk. While cuts, bruises and lacerations are thankfully quite easy to treat, sadly, slips can also lead to spinal and head injuries, which can be more serious.

As well as providing well-maintained facilities and adequate safety equipment, pool operators need to carry out regular checks on the level of chemicals in the water. They should also provide warning signs of any potential hazards, such as deep water and slippery walkways. Some pools provide lifeguards as an extra layer of protection.


Have there been any notable accidents?

Sadly, there have been numerous notable accidents that have made the news headlines. In December 2019, three members of the same family lost their lives at the Club La Costa World resort in Malaga, Spain. A nine-year-old girl began having difficulties in the pool. Her father and a 16-year-old family member jumped in to save her, but tragically, all three died.

Investigations are continuing into the cause of the fatal accident. Initial reports in the media have alleged a potential malfunction with the pool's drainage mechanism may have sucked them underwater.

Four people drowned in the pool at Fort Worth Water Park in Texas in June 2004, after suction from the water pump pulled them under the water. They had gone to the water park as part of a Baptist Sunday School celebration. It was reported that the 35-year-old man, his eight-year-old daughter, his 13-year-old son and an 11-year-old girl had been unable to get out of the pool, due to a pump pulling water to the waterfall.

Eyewitnesses said the youngest child had slipped and fallen into the pool. The other girl tried to save her but got into difficulties and the man and teenage boy died after jumping in to try and save both girls. A fire department spokesperson said the pump had created a strong suction that made rescues difficult.

In April 2019, two toddler brothers, aged two and one, drowned after falling into a swimming pool in their Queensland garden. Despite being rushed to hospital, they both lost their fight for life.

Tragedies such as these serve to emphasise the potentially deadly consequences of a swimming pool accident. Safety should always be a primary concern for any leisure facility operator.

In the event of a customer being injured in a slip and fall accident, this could lead to court action being taken, damaging the facility's reputation and causing a financial loss in terms of compensation. Take preventative measures and maximise the safety of your pool area with our wet area matting products. Give Coruba a call on 01702 560194 for further details.

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