The Facts of Accidental Drowning

Pool drowning attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn that a rising number of serious injuries and deaths are resulting from accidental pool drownings. It may come as a shock to many people, but at least ten people die every day in the United States from accidental drownings. Research shows that men are particularly at risk, since about 80% of all pool drowning victims are male.

Non-fatal drowning accidents can result in severe and debilitating injuries from lack of oxygen to the brain, including loss of basic functioning and extreme brain damage. Swimming pools, if not properly supervised and cared for, pose an immense risk to public safety. Families and individuals looking for an afternoon of fun in the sun may experience toxic substance injuries if pool chemicals are not adequately regulated, or sustain physical injuries from defective pool equipment, such as diving boards, slides, drains, or ladders.

Drowning is actually the fifth leading cause of unintentional death and injury in the United States. The top seven factors influencing drowning risk are inability to swim, lack of barriers around open water, location, alcohol use, lack of supervision, and seizure disorders. Location refers to swimming pools versus natural bodies of water – most young children (ages 1-4) drown in home swimming pools, while most adult drowning (15 and older) occur in natural bodies of water, which include lakes, rivers and oceans.

Recent research found three factors that significantly reduce an individual’s risk of
drowning. They are: taking part in formal swimming lessons (especially among children aged 1 to 4), learning CPR, and wearing life jackets. About half of all boating deaths could have been prevented by using life jackets. Most boating deaths in 2010 were caused by drowning, and 88% of those victims were not wearing life jackets.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled a list of tips to help American stay safe in the water. Among these tips include designating a responsible adults to watch young children while in the bath and around other water bodies, using the buddy system, avoiding alcohol before or during swimming or boating, knowing the local weather conditions before going to the water, and not allowing swimmers to try to hold their breath underwater for long periods of time. Some games that seem fun to kids and young adults are actually extremely dangerous and should be stringently avoided.

In the past two decades, there has been a troubling increase in the number of recreational water illnesses. These illnesses occur in swimming pools and are caused when chlorine-tolerant germs such as Crypto spread through swallowing, breathing in mists, or otherwise having contact with infected waters in pools, hot tubs, water parks, interactive fountains, and even in natural bodies of water. Recreational water illnesses include a wide array of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. An alarming 2010 study found that 1 in 8 public pool inspections led to pools being closed immediately because of serious code violations.

Those with private pools at home must install a four-sided fence that completely separates the pool area to protect public safety. The CDC recommends that this fence be at least 4 feet high and use self-closing and self-latching gates that are out of reach of children. Anyone living near or traveling to a natural water setting must use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets, know the meaning of and obey warnings of colored beach flags, and watch for high waves and rip currents.

Accidental drowning lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn of this new research concerning swimming risks. Too often, Americans do not consider pools and natural water bodies as a large threat and are negligent in protecting their loved ones from danger. Drowning and water-related accidents are preventable, and if an accident should occur, liability can be placed on a variety of entities, including pool owners, equipment companies, and schools.

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