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Last Modified: June 2, 2023

Utah Pool Drowning FAQS

With several years of experience working on drowning accident cases, our Utah drowning accident attorney has put together a list of frequently asked questions about drowning accidents:

1. How Frequently Do Drowning Accidents Occur?

There are over 7,000 drowning deaths nationally each year, according to SNICC. Drowning deaths occur most frequently among children under the age of 4 (CDC). It is estimated that for each drowning death, there are one to four non- fatal submersion injuries serious enough to require hospitalization (SNICC).

2. Where Are Drowning Accidents More Likely to Happen?

“More than 80% of the drownings occur in residential pools or spas,” according to SNICC.

3. What are Non-Fatal Submersion and Near-Drowning Accidents?

These accidents occur when a child is submerged in water long enough to incur injuries. Near-drowning injuries are usually result in brain damage from lack of oxygen.

4. How Severe Are Non-fatal Submersions and Near-Drownings?

15 percent of children ages 14 and under who are hospitalized from near-drowning accidents pass away later in hospitals. As many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability (SNICC).

5. What Causes Drowning Accidents?

Of all pre-school age children who drown, 70% are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the accident; most drowning deaths happen when the parent is with, but not watching, the child. Another common cause is when toddlers wander into ungated, privately owned pools. Unsafe pool drainage can also pose a risk.

6. Who’s Responsibility Is It to Prevent a Drowning Accident?

In the case of public pools, it is the owner or caretakers responsibility to ensure that the entire pool construction, including drains, meet safety standards. If the pool is funded through neighborhood fees or charges direct fees, then the pool must have a lifeguard; if not, the owner must provide the proper signs to indicate that there is no life guard on duty. Beyond the minimum safety requirements provided by the state, it is the bather’s responsibility to prevent drowning accidents (Utah Code R392-302). Privately owned pools do are not held to specific legal standards, however, the owners are expected to keep their pool safe from visiting and trespassing children. Furthermore, if the owner wants to avoid liability in case of an accident then certain safety measures should be put in place. Pool owners who neglect to maintain safety may be held responsible for the injuries or death of a child on their properties through the attractive nuisance doctrine. To read more, visit our Pool Drowning Laws page.

7. How Costly Are Near-Drowning Injuries?

“Health Care costs for each near drowning event range from $75,000 for emergency room services to $180,000 per year for long term care” (SNICC).

8. Do Public Pools Always Need a Lifeguard?

No. Utah State law only requires public pools that charge direct fees or are supported by public funds to provide lifeguards. When there is no lifeguard, all public pools are required to display a sign warning swimmers that there is no lifeguard on duty.

9. How Can I Prevent a Drowning Accident?

If you have a pool at your home, it is recommended that you install a four sided safety fence with a gate, the barrier must present significant obstacles that keep young children from getting into the pool without supervision. Make sure that you, and anyone who uses your pool, know the basics of swimming and floating. Always supervise weaker or at-risk swimmers (including children and persons with epilepsy). Set a no-exception rule for wearing life jackets or other floatation devices for those who are still learning to swim (CDC). To read more about pool drowning accidents, click here.

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