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The most common causes of serious pool injuries

As summer approaches, families across Mississippi are spending more time in their backyard swimming pools. We all know that pools can be dangerous if not properly maintained and that children need to be supervised. Some of the most common causes of pool-related injuries and fatalities are preventable.

A diving board (if there is one) is the most dangerous part of a pool. A pool shouldn't have a diving board unless it has at least nine feet of water, which most residential pools don't. The most common serious diving board injuries are brain and/or spinal cord injury.

Second only to diving boards, slides are the next most common source of pool injuries. They might seem fun and harmless. However, they require users (usually children and teens) to climb a tall, slippery ladder in bare feet. That's a recipe for a serious fall.

Drains and other suction points can be particularly dangerous. The force of the pool pump can catch and hold a person's arm, leg or entire body, sometimes causing fatal injuries -- in most cases to children. Single suction main drains are no longer legal. Dual suction drains must be far enough apart that both suction points can't be covered at the same time.

Electrical wiring for a pool can pose a danger. Electrical devises near the water, such as lights or pumps, have to be properly connected and grounded.

Another danger around many pools is the strong and sometimes poisonous chemicals that are used in their cleaning and maintenance. Too often, they aren't stored properly. They should be in a locked, dry location where children and animals can't get in to them. It's also essential not to store certain chemicals close to one another.

If those who are responsible for a pool, whether it's a homeowner, an apartment management company or a hotel, don't take the appropriate precautions to keep their pool area as safe as reasonably possible, they can be held liable for injuries. If you're not certain who can and should be held responsible when a loved one is injured -- or worse -- in or near a pool, it's wise to consult an experienced attorney.

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