Many families select hotels and resorts with swimming pools, lazy rivers, and other water amenities when booking a vacation or staycation in Texas. Aside from sightseeing and visiting loved ones on vacation, hotel pools and water features serve as a family-friendly way to make memories and splash around in the Texas sunshine. Sixty-seven percent of family vacation itineraries with children 10 and under include water activities like swimming, according to an Expedia Group report.
However, it is crucial not to overlook the potential dangers that hotel and resort pools can pose, especially for young children. Based on many years of experience working on these kinds of cases, our Texas child injury lawyers have compiled a list of the three most common preventable injuries at hotel and resort pools.
Top 3 Ways Children Can Be Hurt at Hotel and Resort Pools in Texas
Child Drowning Incidents at Hotel Pools in Texas
Children can be particularly vulnerable to drowning incidents at hotel and resort pools since most do not have a dedicated lifeguard on duty. Busy hotel pools can also make it easy for a parent to lose sight of a child in the crowd. That is why it is critical to have a parent or responsible adult watching and being within arm’s reach of younger children in the water. Contrary to popular belief—and what is conveyed in movies and television shows—drowning incidents are usually silent and can happen in a matter of seconds, even in a shallow “kiddie” pool at a hotel or resort.
Toddlers are most at risk of drowning, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. And, a 2022 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found a 21% spike in nonfatal drowning incidents, with 27 percent occurring at a pool in a public place such as a hotel or resort. Drowning incidents can cause severe injuries to a child’s body including:
- Brain damage when the crucial organ is deprived of oxygen for an extended time
- Hypothermia when the water at a hotel pool is too cold and causes a child to become confused or disoriented
- Memory loss
- Organ failure
Sadly, drowning incidents are the leading cause of injury-related death in children, according to a 2022 study published in the National Library of Medicine.
Germ Outbreaks and Pool Chemical Injuries at Texas Hotel Pools
Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traced one-third of known germ-related outbreaks from 2015 to 2019 to hotel and motel pools? According to a 2022 New York Times article, hotel personnel responsible for maintaining pool chemicals and water quality are stretched thin with other tasks. The article cites that 9.2% of pools and 19.2% of hot tubs did not have enough chlorine, the chemical that acts as a disinfectant. When water in a hotel’s pool, hot tub, or other water-related amenity is not properly treated, children can become violently ill. The most commonly reported illnesses to the CDC include:
- Gastrointestinal illnesses, including diarrhea or vomiting
- Respiratory illness such as coughing or congestion
- Skin diseases that show up as a rash
On the flip side, hotel pools that have been overtreated with chemicals can also pose dangers to children and families looking to enjoy a getaway. (Yes, this goes against a common misconception that more chemicals are better.) In fact, an estimated 4,535 people in the United States visit emergency rooms each year due to injuries caused by pool chemicals, according to a CDC report. Children and teens made up approximately 36% of these reported injuries. Pool chemicals can cause serious harm by:
- Creating fires or explosions when swimming pool chemicals are incorrectly mixed
- Serious burns when a child’s skin is exposed to chlorine levels that are above a safe range
- Poisoning incidents due to swallowing or breathing in fumes, vapors, or gases of pool chemicals that are incorrectly stored
Signs that a child has been exposed to an overchlorinated hotel pool includes:
- Breathing issues
- Chest pain
- Itchy or red eyes
Lack of Maintenance Resulting in Catastrophic Hotel Pool Drain Accidents
Lastly, unmaintained drains at hotel pools in Texas can be dangerous—even catastrophic—for young children. The strong suction that removes water from the pool and flows through a filtration system can require as much as 700 pounds of pressure. Drain accidents became such a safety issue that the U.S. government required all public pools, including hotels and resorts, have a safety device such as a drain cover, grate, or safety vacuum release system. However, when the drains are not properly covered or the grates are broken, a child can become entrapped and drown. Common scenarios involving entrapment include:
- A child’s hair getting caught or pulled into the drain
- Jewelry or the strap or string on a bathing suit being stuck in the drain
- Little fingers, arm, or leg becoming lodged in the drain
The good news: All of the above incidents and injuries can be prevented when hotels and resorts in Texas regularly maintain the water amenities on their properties. By doing so, families will have happy, positive memories from summer vacations and staycations.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Texas Child Injury Lawyers
If your child is seriously hurt at a hotel or resort swimming pool, lazy river, or hot tub, our team of experienced and compassionate child injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is ready to advocate for you and your family. With attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.