In the United States, about ten people die per day due to accidental drowning.
It’s a sobering statistic, but drownings and other swimming pool accidents occur with surprising frequency. What should have been a nice, relaxing day can all too quickly turn into a nightmare. An accident in a swimming pool can be a traumatic and tragic event for you and your loved ones.
Children are especially at risk while swimming. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five people who die from drowning are children aged 14 or younger. For each one of these children, another five recieve emergency care for “nonfatal submersion injuries.” These injuries can result in memory problems and learning disabilities. They can even lead to the victim becoming trapped in a permanent vegetative state.
For younger children ages 1-4, the risks are even more alarming. For these children, drowning ranks ahead of all causes of death other than congenital birth defects. When children up to the age of 14 are included, drowning becomes the second-leading cause of accidental death, following only car accidents.
Swimming pool accidents can too often prove to be fatal, but unfortunately, many of the worst accidents often prove to have been avoidable. Even something so simple as a fence around a swimming pool can have a dramatic effect in stopping accidents and especially drownings. Young children, left unattended or unwatched, often wander off and sometimes make their way into the inviting waters of a nearby swimming pool. Some of these pools are easy to get into: they sit at ground level and are unprotected by any gate, fence, or wall. With the pool unsecured and unattended, it becomes very easy for a young, inexperienced swimmer to get in trouble in the water. In this one example, which accounts for a fair number of drownings in the United States each year, a fence would have prevented the child’s entry in the first place. The statistics on this, in fact, are notable: a four-sided fence around a pool can lower the risk of drowning in children by a shocking 83%! Because of this, many municipalities now require such a fence to be installed around any new swimming pool.
On a similar note, any pool area should be cleared of inviting floats and toys after use. These items are definitely fun in the pool- and they look fun to young children, too! Unattended children are too often attracted by these objects and are drawn into the pool area out of curiosity or in an attempt to use them. Because of this risk, the CDC recommends in the interest of safety that all such items be removed or placed in a secure location after their use is concluded. This will reduce the chance that a child will wander into a pool unattended and possibly suffer an accident in the water.
Swimming pool accidents can be life-altering, but as we have seen, many could have been prevented through various means. If you or a loved one have suffered a swimming pool accident that you believe could have been prevented, it might be a good idea to contact an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can walk you through your case and help you and those closest to you get the help and compensation you deserve.