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Drowning Is One Of The Leading Causes Of Death In Infants, Toddlers, And Children

by The Beasley Firm  |  May 18, 2012  |  

According to a new federal report, drowning kills more young American children ages 1 to 4 years old than any cause except birth defects. Half of those children drown in swimming pools but toddlers or small children also drown in bathtubs or even buckets of water.

In 2001, 859 children 14 years old or younger died as a result of drowning and, in 2002; an estimated 2,700 children in this age group were treated in hospital emergency rooms for near-drowning episodes. Many who survived after a near-drowning event suffered permanent brain damage.

Preventing Drowning Accidents

The good news is that drowning is entirely preventable, and parents and pool owners can take several precautions to reduce the risk of accidental drowning.

  • Block Access to Pools Access to both in-ground and above-ground pools should be blocked with fences, locking gates, and sensor or movement alarms.
  • Supervision is Key No child should ever be left unattended around any body of water, whether it's a pool, a hot tub, or even a bathtub.
  • Swimming Lessons Enrolling your child in swimming lessons is also an excellent preventative measure as it teaches them basic water survival skills they can use long enough to get them to safety or until a parent or caregiver can get them safely out of the water.

Drowning and Premises Liability

Property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for guests and visitors, which includes taking reasonable steps to prevent drowning accidents. This duty may include:

  • Providing proper fencing around pools
  • Having appropriate signage
  • Providing lifeguards or other safety personnel
  • Ensuring that any equipment or machinery related to the pool or body of water is in good working order

If a property owner fails to take these necessary precautions and a drowning accident occurs as a result, they may be liable for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death. In such cases, it's important to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

Learn More About Drowning Safety

If you would like to learn more about water safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a very informative publication on prevention of drowning in infants, children and adolescents . In addition, you can also find out more on drowning prevention at Safe Kids USA.

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