Public Swimming Pool Safety: What You Need to Know

When the sizzling heat of summer arrives, there can be nothing more refreshing than a dip in a swimming pool. May is National Water Safety Month, an observance that reminds us to revisit proper safety protocols for any activities on or near the water.

Public pools are often seen as an attractive selling point for vacation destinations, planned communities, and homeowners’ associations. But for pool owners and operators, reaping that economic benefit comes with responsibility. When an owner does not properly maintain or safeguard a public pool, members of the public can suffer the consequences.

“Public pools in South Carolina are subject to a host of rigorous safety and operational standards, and for good reason,” says David Yarborough, a swimming pool safety lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina. “If a property owner is negligent, a pool can pose serious risks to its users’ health and safety—especially when it comes to young children.”

Indeed, nearly 300 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools annually. It’s the leading cause of death for youth in that age range. Tragically, 80 percent of those deaths occur in backyard pools. Other common injuries around pools include slip and fall injuries, diving injuries, and drain suction/entrapment incidents.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's (DHEC) public pool inspection form.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) public pool inspection form.

To help protect the public, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) enforces strict regulations for public swimming pool safety. They include rules and requirements for warning signs, lifeguards on duty, access barriers with automatic latches, emergency equipment, and other critical safety features. All public swimming pools, no matter when constructed, must comply with the regulations. Failure to pass inspections will result in closure of the pool until corrections have been made.

Here at Yarborough Applegate, we are all too familiar with the devastating outcomes that can occur when proper pool security measures are not taken. Our team secured a $6 million dollar settlement for the family of a toddler who drowned after encountering an unlocked pool entrance at his family’s apartment complex. This tragedy was avoidable. A handful of reasonable safety measures, if implemented by the complex owner or property manager, would have prevented the child from entering the pool deck and falling into the pool.

If someone you love was the victim of drowning, near-drowning, or other injury at a public swimming pool, contact Yarborough Applegate. Our experienced drowning accident attorneys will vigilantly fight to secure justice for you and your family.

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Our job is simple: do everything we can to help you. If you’ve suffered a loss, you need help. This is where we come in.

How Can We Help You?