First aid

Updated 10 November 2016

Spinal cord injuries: pool precautions

Swimming pools may be the perfect place to exercise or relax on a hot summer day. But pools also provide the perfect environment for serious spinal cord injury to those who aren't careful.


Many spinal-cord injuries result from diving accidents every year, and if you think that could never happen in your backyard pool, consider this: a lot of those injuries occur in home pools.

The typical scenario leading to spinal injury in a swimming pool involves simple misjudgment such as a person being intoxicated, the pool isn't marked, or the swimmers are too young to gauge the correct depth.  But a severe impact to the head, right on top of the skull can lead to a compression fracture of the spine which is where the bone is, and such an accident can lead to a spinal-cord injury.

Parents, and even pool owners with no children, need to take responsibility for making sure their pool area is as safe as possible by ensuring that there is appropriate fencing around the pool. In addition, the locks on pools need to be relatively child-proof.

Here are some other tips developed by the American Spinal Injury Association to help make your pool a little safer for everyone:

  • Set enforceable hours for pool use.
  • Don't allow guests to swim alone or to consume alcohol or drugs while in the water.
  • Always have someone present who is trained in water safety and life-saving techniques.

And the American Academy of Orthopaedics offers this safety check list:

  • Are there depth indicators clearly visible around the pool?
  • Is the pool and surrounding area well-lighted for night use?
  • Does your pool have a designated diving area?

Other related articles:
Painkillers (Paracetamol)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
COX-2 specific inhibitors
Different Steroids
Cortisone injections



Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.