When the summer heat hits, you can expect that more people will be hopping in the water for some cool relief. And while the summer season brings more relaxed and carefree social environments, no one should be completely carefree when it comes to pool safety.
A LEADING CAUSE OF UNINTENTIONAL DEATH
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States.
Data collected by the organization showed that an average of 3,536 people in the U.S. died annually between 2005 and 2014 from drowning, which breaks down to about 10 people every day.
In addition, thousands more suffer injuries due to drowning accidents. People who survive these incidents may experience mild to severe hypoxic brain injuries (brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen) which can lead to long-term complications including:
- Poor judgment
- Decreased motor skills
- Brain death
YOUNG CHILDREN ARE AT RISK
No one is completely immune to drowning accidents, but young children are especially at risk. The CDC reports that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between 1 and 4 years old.
Additionally, about one in five people who die of drowning are 14 years of age or younger. And for every child who dies by drowning, another five are taken to the emergency room for non-fatal injuries.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE DROWNING RISKS
The risk of drowning, especially when it comes to young children, increases because of many different factors:
- Swimming Skills. Young children who don’t know how to swim properly are more likely to drown, even with the use of life jackets or other flotation devices.
- Physical Barriers. Drownings are more likely to occur in pools without fences or other physical barriers to prevent young children from jumping or falling in an adult present.
- Lack of Supervision. Children who are not supervised are more likely to drown because there is no one to help them if they are showing difficulty swimming or begin to drown.
- Alcohol Use. Those in the pool are more likely to drown if they have consumed alcohol, and adults supervising children are less likely to recognize signs of drowning or danger if they are consuming alcohol.
- Seizures. For those with seizure disorders, accidental drowning a leading cause of death.
PREVENTING SWIMMING POOL ACCIDENTS
Keep in mind that 74% of drowning accidents occur at a residential location. With that said, we encourage everyone to take safety precautions during summer seasons when swimming activities increase, including:
- Have at least one sober adult supervisor keeping an eye on children at all times. Drowning accidents can still occur when children know how to swim, so it’s important to recognize the signs of drowning.
- Make sure at least one adult, supervisor, or childcare provider knows cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Never leave children unsupervised in a body of water, even if they do know how to swim. Keep children 4 years old or younger within arm’s reach and do not rely on floatation devices as a sure means of drowning prevention.
- Install physical barriers around all bodies of water, including pools, spas, and hot tubs.
If you or a loved one is injured in a swimming pool or drowning accident, our firm may be able to help you seek compensation for your physical and emotional damages.
Our family is here to help yours. Contact Huffman & Huffman at (757) 599-6050 to get in touch with our Virginia injury attorneys.
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