Swimming is a fun way to relax and cool off during the hot summer months. Unfortunately, the number of drowning deaths and near-drowning accidents increases in the summer. Drowning can occur in a pool or in open water such as a lake, pond, or the ocean. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10 people die each day on average in the United States due to unintentional drowning. Most of these deaths occur to children under the age of 14.
Open Water Drowning
A recent report published by Safe Kids Worldwide emphasizes that open water drownings are increasing. Open water drowning occurs in places other than pools such as in lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and the ocean. According to the study, about 43% of children and teen drowning cases occur in open water as opposed to 38% in pools. Open water drowning or near-drowning impacts about 150 families each week.
About 1,000 children each year drown in open water and about 7,000 go to emergency rooms because of a near-drowning experience. About half of water fatalities happen to teens aged 15 to 19. About 23% of fatalities occur to children ages 0 to 4. Most victims are boys. Open water drowning may occur more often because people are unaware of the differences in swimming in open water as compared to a pool.
The bottom of the lake or ocean could be uneven and drop off quickly. There might be weeds and other debris in the water that make it difficult to see and navigate. The water may be choppy with high waves and this could make swimming harder, even for strong swimmers. Also, boat or jet ski accidents lead to many drownings each year.
Prevention of Drowning
Drowning is a serious concern for everyone, especially for parents. There are some basic safety tips to help keep children safe while swimming. Teaching your child to swim is the first and most important consideration. Children should never be allowed to swim alone. Before allowing a child to swim in open water, test to make sure that the child has the ability to swim in water over his or her head and to navigate with his or her head out of the water.
When swimming in a pool, make sure that lifeguards are present. Do not allow kids to swim in water over their heads unless they are capable of treading water. Most importantly, watch children when they swim, regardless of where they are and whether a lifeguard is on duty.
Drowning deaths can be prevented. However, sometimes a drowning is caused by someone else’s negligence. For example, a pool that has a filter with excessive suction must have the proper cover installed to prevent it from pulling children underwater. If your child was injured or drowned due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm for a consultation today (281) 587-1111.