Who is Legally Responsible if a Child Drowns at an Oklahoma Public Pool?

For many children, a day at the local pool is a favorite pastime on a hot summer day, but parents need to understand that drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in children up to the age of 14. The Oklahoma premises liability laws covering pool accidents can be very complex and are subject to the details behind an accident, so it is very important to seek experienced legal assistance to assess each case and help identify all liable parties.

The first thing to understand is that children must have adult supervision in pool and spa areas. If a public pool posts prominent warnings that the operators do not provide lifeguard or other supervisory services, adults accompanying children may be liable in the event of an accident. However, the recurrence of accidents involving the entrapment of swimmers caused by drain suction has generated the rules set forth in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which requires public pools to be equipped with anti-entrapment devices such as the following:

  • A safety vacuum release system that detects blockage and provides a vacuum release
  • A suction-limiting vent system
  • A gravity drainage system using a collector tank
  • An automatic pump shut-off system
  • A device or system that disables the drain

Of course, any number of factors can lead to public pool injuries. For example, a lack of slip-resistant surfaces around the pool can lead to serious falls. In addition, on-duty lifeguards who become distracted from their duties may not provide the protections needed by a child having trouble in the water. If you or a loved one sustains injuries at a pool — or in any type of accident caused by dangerous premises — it is important to seek counsel from a knowledgeable premises liability attorney at Stipe Harper as soon as possible.

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