Injuries in Swimming Pools
In Las Vegas, swimming pool accidents are common. Not only homes, but hotels, casinos and resorts have swimming pools in this warm weather spot. Swimming pool accidents result largely from drowning, but also may be caused by hitting the head or other part of the body on the hard bottom or side of the pool. In addition, swimming too close to vents has caused catastrophic injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths. Nationally, about 10 people a day die from drowning. Approximately two of these are children, 4 years old or younger. In addition, five times that number of children are hurt in swimming pools and require hospital emergency department care.
Pool Accident Statistics
The highest rate of deaths from drowning in the U.S. is for children between one and four years old. Only the rate of children’s deaths due to congenital defects ranks higher. Others who account for high rates of drowning in the country are:
- Males (80 percent of fatal drownings)
- African Americans, whose death rate from drownings is 9 percent greater than the rest of the population (among children between five and 14 years old, drowning deaths in African Americans was 116 percent higher)
- In an editorial note, the Centers for Disease Control speculates the higher death rates among males could be because they overestimate their swimming ability, participate in higher risk activities, and are more inclined to use alcohol
Over half of non-fatal drowning victims who are treated in emergency departments need additional hospital care. This compares with a 6 percent hospitalization rate for all unintentional injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those who suffer near-drowning accidents may have lifelong injuries such as:
- Serious brain damage that can result in memory problems and learning disabilities
- Permanent loss of function including paralysis or persistent vegetative state
Important ways to decrease swimming pool deaths include:
- Formal swimming lessons
- Teaching basic survival skills, such as righting oneself in the water
- Training a child how to proceed a short distance in water
- Learning how to tread water
- Fencing a pool off on all four sides from the surrounding area
- CPR given by someone close by
- Use of life jackets
- Be watchful (never leave a young child unattended and carefully observed at a swimming pool)
- Have a life guard on duty
Deaths from drownings and other swimming pool injuries could be decreased by resorts or hotels that take greater responsibility for guests’ safety. In Las Vegas, the potential for swimming pool accidents are high due to the volume of alcohol people consume at pool parties and while staying at Las Vegas hotels and resorts.