Enjoying fun in the warmer months often involves water activities such as swimming. This can be indoors or outdoors and in a variety of settings such as pools, lakes, oceans, and spas. Although no one intends for a tragedy to occur when spending a day with family (especially when children are involved), unfortunately, when experiencing the fun of water activities, accidents happen, which are often fatal or life-altering.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2005 – 2014, there were approximately 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States. This equates to about ten deaths per day. These statistics do not include the 332 people who died each year due to drowning associated with boating accidents.
As summer is upon us, we all must take the necessary precautions to engage in water fun safely. It is especially vital to equip children with the skills and tools they need to enjoy the water carefully.
Facts About Drowning Accidents
- One in five persons who die from drowning are 14 and younger
- More than 50% of drowning victims suffer non-fatal drowning injuries that result in severe brain damage, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
- Children aged one to four have the highest drowning rates. Most drownings in this age group occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is the cause of more deaths in this age group than any other reason besides congenital birth defects.
- Almost 80% of people who die from drowning are male.
- The death rate due to drowning is significantly higher for African Americans as compared to whites.
Below are common risk factors associated with drowning accidents – most if not all, can be eliminated, or precautions can be taken to minimize the occurrence of injury.
- Not knowing how to swim – Being unable to swim can present an obvious problem when going in the water. But many people report that they do not know how to swim. Taking swimming lessons can decrease one’s risk of drowning.
- Not having barriers around a pool – Not having a fence that completely encloses the perimeter of the pool makes it easier for children to access a pool without a caregiver’s knowledge.
- Failure to supervise children when swimming – When there is no adult specifically responsible for watching a child at all times, drowning can occur because it often happens quickly and quietly.
- Setting – Younger children have a higher probability of drowning in a home pool setting, whereas the risk in natural environments such as lakes and beaches increases for older youth.
- Not wearing life jackets – Most people who die in boating accidents are due to drowning. An overwhelming majority of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
- Using alcohol – Alcohol usage affects one’s decision-making ability, balance, and coordination.
- Seizure disorders – The most common cause of unintentional injury death for persons who have seizure disorders is drowning.
As mentioned above, many of the risk factors can be eliminated by taking the proper precautions and maintaining vigilant about water safety.
- Take swimming lessons if you or your child do not know how to swim.
- Ensure your home swimming pool has a fence on all four sides that encompasses the pool.
- Always supervise children when they are in the water.
- Be mindful of providing one-on-one supervision to those in the water who have seizure disorders.
- Learn CPR.
- Use only appropriate water safety devices such as a life vest, not toy noodles or inner tubes.
Getting Help When an Accident Occurs
Sometimes things happen even when we are trying to be safe. Or other times, another person may have caused an accident due to unsafe practices. When someone is injured or dies because of a drowning accident, the grief is life-changing no matter who may be at fault. In these situations, however, an experienced lawyer can sort through the details and ensure that the law is enforced.
If you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, please contact Freeman & Freeman. We welcome the opportunity to help you with your situation.