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Swimming Pools and Supervision: Helpful Tips

Liability in swimming pool drowning or swimming pool injury cases will inevitably involve the question of supervision at the time of injury or drowning, especially in cases involving children.

Below are some tips that can reduce the risk of drowning or swimming pool injury.

Much like the ‘designated driver’ the supervising adult at swimming functions needs to limit and/or completely refuse alcoholic beverages.  Inebriation will reduce the reaction time of the adult, may cause sleepiness or excessive talking which can distract the ‘supervising adult.  Inebriation can also lead to poor judgement by the supervising adult.

Additionally, it would be wise to excuse oneself from supervising and/or ask for the aid of another adult, if one uses medication that can impair judgement, cause sleepiness or results in lethargy.

Many pool injuries have occurred due to an electrical appliance (such as TV’s or sound systems)  falling into the pool causing an electrical shock that can result in death.  The natural human inclination it to jump in and help the injured person.  However, multiple electrocutions have occurred when one or more persons jump in the pool while they are attempting to help the first injured victim.  The supervising person will want to keep any electrical appliance away from the pool area to prevent electrical shocks to those swimming.

Accidents occur in just moments. One of the recurring elements in drowning deaths of children, is that the supervising adult left ‘just for a moment’. Since pool parties are often accompanied by bbq’s or a picnic style buffet, the supervising adult should make sure that another qualified person either takes their post while they make a plate and/or have someone bring food to the person supervising the pool.  It is a kindness to bring the supervising adults a cold beverage or water to prevent them from leaving the pool to get it for themselves.  If the adult is alone, plan ahead and bring cold beverages and water outside by the pool so that one does not have to leave.

If the pool has a water slide, the supervising person wants to make sure that other swimmers are out of the way before the next person goes down the slide.

As parents, we must curb the side to multi-task while supervising children in the swimming pool.  While supervising, we may suddenly feel the sudden compulsion to trim a bush, put away the toys or tools that were left out from yesterday, talk on the phone, or read.  While multi-tasking is admirable trait at other times in life, the supervising adult at a pool should not multi-task while children swim.

Pool owners also want to encourage children to immediately yell and inform the adult of any signs of trouble.  Children often don’t want to upset their parents and sometimes have remained quiet or tried to resolve issues themselves to avoid ‘getting in trouble.’  They associate yelling, interrupting or screaming as inappropriate or ‘bad’ behavior.  Make sure children understand that we want them to interrupt, yell and scream if a situation arises in the pool and that there will be no repercussions as this is the ‘correct’ behavior when faced with trouble in the pool.

While the supervising adult wants to avoid taking phone calls while monitoring children, a phone should be located near the pool so that in the case of an emergency, 911 can immediately be called.  Additionally, the 911 operator will be able to help the adult administer medical aid until emergency vehicles arrive to the home.

If an injury or death occurred while in a swimming pool, you may have questions.  Sadly, drownings and swimming pool injuries may occur at the house of a friend or a loved one and often questions may entail how a claim would effect them.  Edward A Smith Law Offices can help you address those questions and concerns and provide free advice.

I am Ed Smith, founder of and can be reached via phone at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to address your questions.  Please learn more about my practice, the settlements and verdicts obtained by my office from my website, I encourage you to learn what my past clients have said about working with my office.  You can find client reviews on Google, Yelp or Avvo.

Image Attribution: By user “brokenchopstick” [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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