The A-frame-type ladders used to access above-ground pools can present safety hazards to children and adults – raising the risk of falls and drowning injuries and deaths.
Learn more about the dangers of A-frame pool ladders.
The Dangers of A-Frame Pool Ladders
A-frame ladders, with rungs and handholds on either side of the A and a small platform in the apex, are used to access and exit above-ground pools. They may be constructed of steel, aluminum or resin. But poorly constructed and poorly designed pool ladders can pose a drowning or fall hazard to children and adults alike.
According to injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2017, emergency rooms nationwide treated an estimated 4,523 individuals for injuries related to pool equipment, such as ladders, pool covers and drains. A closer look at data collected by The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a sampling of emergency room visits from U.S. hospitals, shows that a significant percentage of these incidents involve pool ladders that result in lacerations, contusions, broken bones, and abrasions from contact with components, broken parts, and entrapments.
There are no mandatory safety standards for above-ground pool ladders. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which regulates above ground pools and other consumer products, has worked with pool ladder manufacturers to set voluntary safety standards, encourage them to include safety devices in their ladder designs, publicize manufacturers’ voluntary recalls, or use its regulatory authority to compel a manufacturer to recall a defective product.
- In April 2007, Intex Recreation Corporation of Long Beach, CA announced a recall for 466.000 “Intex®,” “Easy Set®” and “Sand N Sun™” Above-Ground Pool Ladders, in which the ladder’s plastic steps could be assembled backward on the support brackets, making them prone to breakage. Intex received 172 reports of steps breaking during use, leading to “127 reports of injuries, including six leg lacerations requiring up to 21 stitches, five reports of bone fractures, two back injuries, two reports of torn ligaments, eight sprained ankles, and other minor injuries.”
- In August 2018, Confer Plastics recalled 100,000 curve in-pool step systems because children’s limbs could become entrapped in the side openings of the step systems, posing a drowning hazard. The recall involved three models of in-pool step systems with curved steps for in-ground and above-ground pools. Confer had received two reports of children’s arms becoming entrapped in the side panel openings of the step systems, including reports of minor abrasions.
To learn more about pool ladder recalls and safety, go to:
- www.cpsc.gov: This CPSC website maintains a recall list for consumers to check if there is a recall on a certain pool ladder.
- www.saferproducts.gov: This CPSC website has a key-word searchable database where the public can report problems with, read consumer complaints about, and find recall notices regarding pool ladders.
Ladder Designs that Limit Access
The voluntary safety standards govern aspects of pool ladder design such as the dimensions of the treads, spacers and handholds, and the need for a physical barrier to prevent children from swimming through the riser openings or behind the ladder. Ladders may also be designed to prevent small children from accessing an above ground pool.
Drowning is a safety hazard associated with all types of pools. In May 2018, the CPSC reported that there were, on average, an estimated 6,400 pool- or spa-related, non-fatal drowning injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms annually, 2015 through 2017. In addition, the CPSC found 351 pool- or spa-related drownings involving children younger than 15, each year for 2013 through 2015.
Some ladder use slide lock designs, which allows users to slide up the exterior ladder to restrict access to the pool, or ladder covers that slide or roll-down over the exterior staircase, to prevent children from accessing the ladder’s rungs.
Talk to a Product Liability Attorney About Your Child’s Ladder-Related Injuries
If you believe your child’s suffered an injury due to a pool ladder defect, the product liability attorneys at Newsome Melton can help you determine whether you have a valid case against the manufacturer. Call us today at 888-808-5977 for your free case review and let us help you explore your options.