Drowning is the leading cause of death of California children younger than 10. During the summer, many children spend their days in and around swimming pools. Swimming pool accident prevention experts recommend that property owners, parents, and children’s caregivers understand the myths about child drownings and implement layers of protection to keep children safe.
Swimming Pool Accident Myth # 1: Drowning Victims Splash and Make Noise
The biggest myth about drowning is that the victim will splash or make noise before drowning. In reality, drowning is often called a silent death because children slip silently under water and drown before anyone notices they are under. In most swimming pool drownings and near-drownings, no bystanders heard warning sounds.
One problem with this myth is that adults often believe that if they are near the pool, they will hear if anyone is in distress. Therefore, they stay within hearing range, but not always where they can see the children.
Swimming Pool Accident Myth # 2: With Attentive Adults Nearby, No One Will Drown
Studies of child drownings and near-drownings reveal that most young children don’t die because of neglectful supervision. They die because attentive parents do not have their eyes on the child at all times.
Many attentive parents and caregivers have had their attention diverted for just a few seconds and never saw or heard their child go under water. Concerned parents may become involved in conversations, reach for a ringing phone, or comfort another child. In the seconds that a parent looks away, the child in the pool could go under. In a crowded pool, precious seconds can pass before a parent realizes the child might be under water.
Swimming pool accident prevention experts recommend that adults should provide “touch supervision” for infants and toddlers. This means that an adult should always be within arms’ reach of young children. For school-age children, parents and caregivers should always have an eye on the children. That advice is to be taken literally, meaning that adults should not be reading, playing cards, or texting.
Swimming Pool Accident Myth # 3: Children Primarily Drown in Neighbors’ Unsecured Pools and At Beaches
In California, more than half of swimming pool drowning victims under five years of age drowned at their own homes. In most of these cases, drownings occurred with an adult nearby. The youngest victims (aged 1-2) managed to get from inside the house into the pool while an otherwise attentive caregiver was distracted by a household task or another child. Child victims aged 3-4 were around the pool before the accident and the responsible adult was distracted or stepped away.
Swimming pool accident prevention for young children, therefore, includes a strong focus on adult supervision of children at home. Prevention also requires creating layers of protection in households with pools. Layers of protection means that a pool safety gate is not enough. In fact, California law requires residential swimming pools to be equipped with at least two of seven drowning prevention safety features.
Layers of Protection Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents
Drowning deaths and severe injuries from drowning are preventable. Swimming pool accidents often happen when several problems occur simultaneously: the responsible adult was distracted, the pool safety gate was left open, the throwing aids were not accessible, and no one present knew CPR. Having layers of protection or multiple pool accident prevention strategies present greatly reduces the likelihood of children drowning. These layers often include:
- adult supervision
- climb-resistant pool fences
- safety latches
- safety pool covers
- door and pool alarms
- easily accessible throwing aids
- rescue techniques that have been practiced
- pool safety education
Preventing Drowning Among Older Children, Teens, and Adults
While accidental drowning is not one of the top five causes of death for youth and adults, it kills more than 300 people over age 10 annually in California. The top two ways to prevent swimming pool accidents for those over age 10 are swimming lessons and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
Experts are mixed on the drowning prevention benefits of swimming lessons for very young children. For school-aged children and older, though, not knowing how to swim is a major factor in many drownings. Another common denominator is the use of drugs or alcohol around swimming pools.
How Does California’s Comparative Negligence Framework Affect Swimming Pool Accident Claims?
California is a comparative negligence state. The amount an accident victim can recover is reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to the victim. This means that if a victim did not follow swimming pool accident prevention strategies, the victim may not be fully compensated for injuries. For example, if a person who did not know how to swim got drunk while sitting near a pool and then fell in, at least part of the accident would be attributed to the victim’s poor judgment in that situation.
An experienced premises liability attorney would be prepared for that assertion. He would dig deeper into the situation to find out who supplied the alcohol, when and where the drinking began, why the people were near the pool, and more. A strong swimming pool accident attorney protects the victim from unfair blame.
Getting Help from a Long Beach Swimming Pool Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal To Me
Swimming pool accidents are horrific tragedies resulting in permanent disability or death. If your family has experienced a swimming pool accident, call me today at 888-394-1174. I have advocated for accident victims for more than 35 years.
The goal of the Law Office of Michael D. Waks is to help accident victims get every benefit owed them under the law.
I take your injuries personally, so I will handle every aspect of your case and make sure you receive maximum compensation. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174. You can also use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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