As the summer months approach, it is almost time to open your swimming pools for the season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people in the United States make more than 300 million trips to pools and other swimming areas each year. Unfortunately, not every swimming pool is safe or clean. The CDC reports that following routine health and safety inspections, 1 in 8 pools are forced to close for violations. Unsafe and unsanitary swimming pool conditions can lead to drowning, outbreaks, and emergency room visits.

Who is liable for swimming pool accidents?

The owner of the swimming pool is responsible for keeping the pool and the surrounding areas safe and secure. If someone is injured because the pool or its surrounding area were unsafe, the owner of the pool can be held liable. One way people can be injured is through insufficient or unsafe pool chemicals.

Pool Chemicals

pool chemicalsChlorine, bromine, and other chemicals are used to help protect people who swim in pools, namely to prevent the spread of germs, prevent outbreaks, improve water quality, stop corrosion, protect against algae growth, and help with the disinfection process. However, unsafe storage and use of these products can cause fires, create toxic gas, and cause poisoning, burns, and skin and eye injuries.

The CDC estimates that between 3000 and 5000 people visit the Emergency Department (ED) every year for injuries related to pool chemicals, almost half of whom are children. According to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC in 2019, between 2008 and 2017, there were approximately 4,535 annual pool chemical-related ED visits in the United States. From 2015 to 2017 alone, pool chemical injuries resulted in an estimated 13,508 total ED visits, with one-third being minors. Most occurred in residential homes. The most frequent causes of injury were inhalation of chemical fumes or dust, access to unsecured chemicals by children, and skin contact immediately after adding chemicals to the water.

Pool Chemical Safety Tips

Below are a few safety tips for the storage, use, and disposal of pool chemicals.


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Store the chemicals in a locked, temperature-controlled environment, away from children, pets, and others, and in compliance with local or state building and fire codes.
  • Keep the pool chemical storage area free of debris, trash, and away from combustible and flammable materials.
  • Don’t store containers of liquids above other containers of pool chemicals to prevent accidental mixing of chemicals by leaking containers.
  • Never mix old chemicals and new chemicals together.
  • Use separate, designated scoops and containers.


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Handle pool chemicals outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use proper protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and eye protection.
  • Never let children handle pool chemicals.
  • Always measure the pool chemical precisely to the instructions.
  • Place the chemicals in the water. Do not place the water in the chemicals.
  • Replace the lid on chemical containers when finished.
  • Open one pool chemical container at a time and always keep containers closed.
  • Make sure to very thoroughly clean any tool and equipment before using.
  • Clean spills immediately and properly dispose cleanup items.
  • Test the pool frequently to ensure that levels are within recommended ranges.


  • Do not dispose of pool chemicals in the trash or down the drain. Take pool chemicals to a household hazardous waste collection day in your community or to a commercial hazardous waste facility. Check to see if your local plant will accept bleach.

Following these safety tips can help prevent accidents and trips to the Emergency Department, but people may not always follow them. If you or someone you know was injured by someone’s negligence in handling swimming pool chemicals, you should consult a personal injury lawyer about the potential liability of the pool owner or operator. SUGARMAN has a team of dedicated and experienced personal injury attorneys who represent those who have been injured. If you or someone you know wishes to speak with one of our attorneys, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000, or email us at