The recent news of the tragic death of an eight year-old boy who drowned at a Springdale apartment complex pool has served as a warning about the dangers of pools and other large bodies of water. While a pool can be a danger to any person, young people and males are more likely than average to succumb to the danger of accidental drowning. In fact, according to CDC statistics, on average, about 10 people die from drowning every day. Of these ten drowning deaths, one-in-five is a child age 14 or younger. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of those who drown are male.
As summer kicks into full swing many parents and pool owners are wondering what they must do under Arkansas state law to reduce the risk presented by a pool. Still others are wondering what additional steps they can take to further reduce the likelihood of a life-altering accident.
What Steps Must Pool Owners Take in Arkansas?
The exact steps a pool owner or pool manager must take to ensure that his or her facility complies with Arkansas state law is based on the class of pool facility at issue. That is, Arkansas classifies pools, spas and other bathing facilities into classes including:
- Class A pools – Pool of this type include those open to the public and intended for generalized recreational use. The pool can be owned by any person, legal entity, association, or state political subdivision.
- Class B pools – Pools of this class are not open to the general public, but they are open to exclusive groups like a child or daycare facility, residents of an apartment complex, or registered guests of a hotel or motel.
- Class C Special Purpose Pool – Includes special-purpose pools that differs significantly from a standard swimming pool. Pools for waterslides, scuba pools, and zero-depth entry pools are common types of pools in this category.
- Class D Pools – Pools that fall under this class are commonly referred to as wading pools. Wading pools are for non-swimmers and cannot exceed 24 inches in depth.
- Class F Pools – Class F pools include commercial spas, whirlpools, and hot tubs and other pools that use hydro-jet circulation or other circulation systems to provide relaxation and enjoyment.
- Private residence pools – A private residence pool is any pool that is privately owned and for use solely by the owner and his or her guests.
Depending on the class of pool, a pool owner in Arkansas must submit plans for review by one or more state planning boards. Furthermore, per Arkansas law, all Class A pools and pools open to the general public must be guarded. The regulations provide that a minimum of one lifeguard should be posted to guard the pool for every 2000 square feet of water surface area and an additional guard for any fraction greater than 100 square feet. No public pool may have a diving board with a height greater than 10 feet without state approval. Furthermore owners of a Class A pool or a pool otherwise open to the general public must secure operating permits and address safety issues regarding lighting, preventing unauthorized pool access, access to emergency communications, life-saving equipment, safety postings, and maximum occupancy considerations.
What Common Drowning Risks can Pool Owners Address?
Aside from the steps that owners of Class A and public pools are required to take, all pool owners can work to improve safety by addressing common risks. Risks that can be addressed include:
- Lack of fence or barriers – A pool can be an alluring and enticing destination for a child on a hot summer’s day. A fence or other barrier can keep the hazard out of sight and out of mind. Furthermore, the fence can prevent unauthorized entry to the pool.
- Inability to swim – Weak or non-swimmers should never be unaccompanied, for even a moment, while swimming. Children who have not engaged in swimming training between the ages of one to four have an increased risk of drowning. In fact, ideally, all people who use the pool should do so under the “buddy system.”
- Alcohol – Nearly 70 percent of deaths involving water recreational activities implicates alcohol in some way. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and balance. Its effects are often exacerbated by excessive heat and sun exposure.
The above only includes some of the things a pool owner can do to reduce the risk of preventable injury or death. Learning to administer CPR can also reduce the consequences of a pool accident.
Hurt Due to Negligence or Recklessness at a Pool? Contact an Arkansas Accidental Drowning Lawyer
If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury at a pool or if a loved one has been killed due to negligence or recklessness at a private or public pool, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law may be able to help. For more than 20 years as Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer, Ken has fought on behalf on injured people in northwest Arkansas. To schedule a free and confidential injury consultation call us at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.