Caution tape in front of a pool

Swimming is a lot of fun. It’s a healthy form of exercise and a great way to cool down during the long, hot summers in New York City. But it can also be dangerous. That’s why swimming pool owners and people in charge of recreational pools must take precautions to prevent pool-related injuries such as drowning, poolside slip-and-falls accidents, chemical irritation, and injuries caused by malfunctioning pool drains.

Injuries and Fatalities Caused by Drowning

Drowning is a tragic occurrence that causes numerous injuries and fatalities every year. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four. In a recent year, there were 242 drownings in New York State. Across the nation, there are 11 fatal drownings and 22 non-fatal drownings every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

Children and others who experience non-fatal drowning frequently suffer injuries that cause severe physical and cognitive disabilities. They may require extensive medical treatment and long-term assisted living care. These injuries lead to catastrophic medical outcomes, including:

  • Coma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Personality changes
  • Loss of motor control
  • Pneumonia
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Lung injuries
  • Reduced intellectual function

Additional Types of Pool-Related Injuries

The are other pool-related hazards to watch out for besides drowning. A major issue is slip-and-fall injuries caused by slippery surfaces and tripping hazards in the pool area. Diving injuries result when swimmers are allowed to jump head-first into shallow water. Another serious issue is chemical irritation caused by improper pool maintenance. Faulty pool equipment and broken diving boards and ladders lead to injuries resulting from falls.

Swimming pool drains exert several hundred pounds of suction pressure. Pools, spas, and wading pools with loose, broken, or missing drain covers are a real hazard. When the victim’s hair, limbs, body, swimwear, or jewelry gets pulled into a malfunctioning pool drain, drastic injuries occur, including broken limbs, drowning, and evisceration.

Where Do Swimming Pool Accidents Happen?

Swimming pool accidents can happen to anyone near or in a swimming pool, and there are thousands of swimming pools in New York City. You can find them at various locations, including:

  • Private residences
  • Apartments
  • Youth and recreation centers
  • Private gyms
  • Condominiums
  • Hotels and motels
  • Daycare centers
  • Summer camps
  • Schools
  • Water parks

Pool Safety Laws in New York

There are state and local laws and residential codes that regulate privately owned swimming pools in New York. In New York City, every outdoor in-ground residential pool must be protected on all sides by a fence at least 4 feet high, and there must be a child-proof, self-latching gate.

State laws require public pools to meet the following requirements:

  • There must be adequate lighting.
  • Lifeguard stations must provide an unobstructed view of the swimming area.
  • Pools must be surrounded by fences with gates that are locked when the pool is not in use.
  • There must be at least one lifeguard for every 25 bathers.
  • No lifeguard should supervise an area larger than 3,400 square feet of pool surface.
  • Children under 16 must be 8 inches taller than the maximum pool depth.
  • No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the premises.
  • There is no running, jumping, or unsafe play permitted in the pool area.
  • The facility must keep copies of lifeguard credentials on-site.

Safety Tips To Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents

Pool coverings are not legally required in most places, but they provide an extra measure of protection against drowning, especially for small children. Following these recommendations will reduce pool-related injuries and fatalities.

  • Don’t swim alone.
  • Stay within arm’s reach of small children.
  • Never dive in less than 8 feet of water.
  • Provide regular pool inspections.
  • Provide safety equipment and make sure it’s working properly.
  • Develop an emergency plan to ensure that injuries are treated as quickly as possible.

Who Is Liable for Pool-Related Injuries?

Your New York premises liability attorney will investigate the accident and file a claim or lawsuit against anyone whose negligent behavior contributed to you or your child’s injuries. This may include:

  • Pool and water park owners
  • Employees and supervisors
  • Manufacturers of faulty pool equipment
  • Government officials and agencies
  • Owners of private swimming pools

Were You or Someone You Love Injured in a Pool-Related Accident?

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP has been getting justice for accident victims in New York City for over 50 years. In fact, we’ve won over $1 billion for our clients, and our attorneys are proud members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

WRSMH holds an AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and we’ve been recognized by Super Lawyers for providing outstanding service based on peer recognition and professional achievement.

Call us at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a FREE consultation today.

Posted in: Premises Liability