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Swimming Accidents

Swimming AccidentsSwimming Pool Accident Lawyer

New York Attorneys Helping Clients in Buffalo, Rochester, Long Island, and Manhattan

Cellino & Barnes represents swimming accident victims and their families in cases involving residential swimming pools, hotel swimming pools, public swimming pools, water parks, beach accidents and more.

Swimming pools and hot tubs are a hazard for toddlers and small children when left uncovered or unsecured. In addition, New York law requires a homeowner to obtain a permit before installing a swimming pool or hot tub. By obtaining a permit, local inspectors and electricians will ensure all safety measures are followed.

Swimming accidents happen for many reasons, including:

  • Diving board mishaps
  • Diving in shallow water
  • Electrocution
  • Lack of supervision
  • Failure to cover the pool or hot tub
  • Inadequate fencing
  • Inadequate warning signs
  • No lifeguards or improperly trained lifeguards

If you or a loved one has been injured in a swimming accident, or if you have any questions regarding our services, call Cellino & Barnes now at (800) 888-8888 or contact a swimming pool accident lawyer.

Beach Lake Drownings

Drownings often occur at beaches due to an undertow.  The undertow can be very dangerous and unpredictable. When a wave breaks on a beach, the water that runs up the beach soon reverses flow back down the beach to the ocean or lake. This is called backwash. Backwash can be very dangerous.  When big waves break one behind the other, incoming waves frequently push the previous backwash sideways. This results in water running along the shoreline like a stream until it finds an exit, where it flows back into the lake or ocean. This outward flow is called a rip current. Rip currents often look flat and rippling. The fastest flow of water in a rip current is in the middle. Rip currents lose strength as they spread wide and disappear when they reach the open water outside the waves.

An undertow occurs where waves break over a riptide. The force of the wave pushes the outgoing water down, creating an undertow.

Most experts caution if you are ever caught in a riptide or undertow, don’t panic.

Rules for Pools – Pool Safety

Rules for Pools

  • Fences and walls should be at least 4 feet high and installed completely around the pool. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of a small child’s reach. Keep furniture that could be used for climbing into the pool area away from fences.
  • If your house forms one side of the barrier to the pool, then doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that produce a sound when a door is unexpectedly opened.
  • Don’t leave pool toys and floats in the pool or pool area that may attract young children to the water.
  • For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured and locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • Pool alarms can be used as an added precaution. It is recommended that remote alarm receivers be used so the alarm can be heard inside the house or in other places away from the pool area.
  • Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards to young children and about the use of protective devices, such as door alarms and latches.
  • Emphasize the need for constant supervision. Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool.
  • During social gatherings at or near a pool, appoint a “designated watcher” to protect young children from pool accidents. Adults may take turns being the “watcher.” When adults become preoccupied, children are at risk.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the pool area.
  • Do not allow a young child in the pool without an adult. Do not consider young children to be immune from drowning simply because they have had swimming lessons. Children must be watched closely while swimming.
  • Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
  • Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Babysitters and other caretakers, such as grandparents and older siblings, should also know CPR.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool. Be sure a telephone is poolside with emergency numbers posted nearby.
  • Never prop open the gate to a pool barrier.
  • To prevent body entrapment and hair entrapment/entanglement, have a qualified pool professional inspect the drain suction fittings and covers on your pool and spa to be sure that they are the proper size, properly attached, and meet current safety standards. If your pool or spa has a single drain outlet, consider installing a safety vacuum release system that breaks the vacuum to avoid potential entrapment conditions.

Diving Accidents

Those involved in diving accidents usually suffer injuries to their head or spinal cord. These injuries can occur as a result of diving into water that is too shallow, or by using a diving board.

Diving accidents can occur in a pool, lake, river, pond, or any waterway. Before diving into any water, whether off a boat or a diving board, it is important to check the area. Remove any debris and make sure you have a good idea of the depth of the water.

Pool Accidents

It only takes a few moments for a child to drown.  The majority of swimming pool accidents occur due to a failure to properly secure the swimming pool.  Most of these drowning accidents occur to children under the age of 4 and could have been prevented. Anyone with a swimming pool should ensure safety measures are in place, regardless of whether you have a child of your own.

Above ground pools – One simple way to avoid the possibility of a small child accidentally falling into your pool is to ensure the safety ladder is either latched or the ladder itself is removed.  If you have a pool off a deck, make sure it has a gate that is latched after each use.  Regardless of whether a child is in the house, or outside, safety precautions need to be in place to prevent an accidental drowning.

Inground pools – It is easy for a child to fall into an inground pool.  The area should be securely fenced. We recommend to anyone with a pool on your property or to those of you who live near a waterway to review the safety tips with your children. It is the pool owner’s responsibility to make sure all precautions are taken to ensure a tragic accident will not happen.


Each year over 1,000 children (about 250 under the age of 5) die in swimming-related accidents and over 5,000 others are hospitalized. Additionally, spas and whirlpools kill over 200 children each year.

In 2002, an estimated 1,600 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for water-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Many of these deaths and injuries occurred in backyard pools.

Swimming accidents also happen to adults. Many adults suffer severe injuries when they combine alcohol and swimming. Furthermore, severe spinal cord injuries result from diving into water that is too shallow.

Additional Alarming Statistics:

  • Children under the age of 1 are most likely to drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 years are most likely to drown in residential swimming pools. (Most young children who drown in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.)
  • Alcohol use and swimming are involved in almost 50% of all adolescent and adult deaths. Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.
  • Approximately 70% of all boating fatalities are due to drowning. Alcohol is involved in about 1/3 of all reported boating fatalities.

Rules at the Beach

Rules at the Beach

  • Learn to swim
  • Swim near a lifeguard
  • Never swim alone
  • Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present
  • Don’t rely on flotation devices, such as rafts, you may lose them in the water
  • If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free, don’t swim against the current’s pull
  • Don’t consume alcohol and then go swimming
  • Don’t dive into unfamiliar waters go feet first
  • If you are in trouble, call or wave for help
  • Follow regulations and lifeguard directions
  • Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances
  • Report hazardous conditions to lifeguards or other beach management personnel
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers or break walls. Rip currents often exist along the side of fixed objects in the water.
  • Be aware of water conditions. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water.

Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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Rochester, NY 14614

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