The weekend of June 13th, 2014, four Chicago children died from drowning, ages three to nine years old. In Chicago and most of the Midwest, there are only a handful of summer months and – rightfully so – families do their best to make the best of warm weather.
Unfortunately, this makes children vulnerable to drowning and pool accidents, which can be deadly. Pool drowning lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm take a closer look into these cases and what can be done to prevent more from happening.
Two of the children were in pools – the three-year-old in a relative’s private pool and the four-year-old in his family’s suburban country club. The youngest victim was at a family gathering and was playing in a large above-ground pool when the accident occurred.
The toddler was initially wearing inflatable floaties on his arms, but took them off when he got out of the pool. The floaties were not put back on him before he got into the pool a second time. As at most gatherings, his parents and siblings were busy talking and playing with other family members, when all of a sudden the three-year-old was out of sight. His family told the Chicago Tribune that the incident took only a few seconds, however, the boy was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
The four-year-old was at a country club in St. Charles, Illinois when the drowning occurred. It is still unclear whether or not there as a lifeguard on duty, however the coroner determined his death was tragic accident.
Two brothers also fell victim to drowning accidents over the weekend when they were swimming in a large water-filled area in western Indiana. The brothers, eight- and nine-years-old, were pronounced dead in the later evening hours. Their relatives told the press that they were playing with friends who urged the boys to swim into the open area that had been excavated and filled with water. Soon after they entered the pit they started to struggle to swim and their friends ran for help, which came too late.
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Pool accidents are extremely common in the U.S., as is unintentional drowning and other water-related accidents. According to the CDC, and as evidenced by last week’s drownings, males are significantly more likely to die in drowning accidents than females. Children aged one to four have the highest rates of drowning, most of which occur in swimming pools.
For every child who suffer fatal drowning accidents, another five are taken to emergency rooms for treatment, including substantial lack of oxygen that can require long-term, even lifetime care. Particularly in small children, lack of oxygen can cause severe brain damage such as learning disabilities, memory problems, and even permanent loss of basic functioning.
These statistics do not take into account boating-related accidents, which more frequently affect older men, and take about 350 lives per year. Not surprisingly, alcohol use is a large factor in boating accidents, and is responsible for about one in five reported boating deaths.
Other factors that influence drowning risk include:
- Lack of swilling skills – formal lessons significantly reduces drowning risk ¢ Barriers, such as fencing, stop children from accessing pools. Four-sided isolation is best ¢ Lack of close supervision. Drowning can happen quickly and quietly, even in the bathtub.
- Location: most children drown in pools, and adolescents and adults in natural waters.
- Life jackets, like helmets, are less than attractive but extremely necessary.
- Seizure disorders. Drowning is actually the leading cause of unintentional injury and death for those with seizure disorders, with most occurring in the bathtub.
In addition to these factors, those with swimming pools or natural water access at home need to take all precautions to prevent water-related injuries. Use the buddy system, learn CPR, avoid alcohol, know weather conditions before boating, and do not let swimmers hyperventilate before swimming underwater.
If you would like any additional information on unintentional drowning or water-related injuries, contact our team of pool accident attorneys today. Our legal consultations are free, no-obligation, confidential, and available to potential clients in all 50 states.