Summer is here, kids are out of school, and vacations are starting. While many people enjoy swimming, the number of drowning accidents typically go up during this time of year. Kids are among the most common drowning victims. Safe Kids Worldwide recently released a report on open water drowning. According to their information, every year about 1,000 children drown in the United States. Most drowning deaths occur between the months of May and August. More than 7,000 kids are brought to Emergency Rooms each year because of a near-drowning experiences.
Open Water Drowning
The organization’s report provides insight into open water drowning and tips for keeping children safe. Open water drowning occurs in the ocean, lakes, ponds and rivers, and is more likely to occur than drowning in a swimming pool. 150 families a week are impacted by an open water drowning. Surprisingly, most drowning occurs to teenagers 15 to 19 years old. About a quarter of the deaths happen to youngsters under age 5.
Boys are more likely than girls to drown in open water. There are a number of factors that make swimming in open water dangerous.
The depth of the water is difficult to calculate, and there may be sudden drop-offs. There may be a dangerous undercurrent and there is often limited visibility. When you swim off shore it can be hard to judge your distance from shore and you can quickly get too far away to safely return. Water may be cold and there might be a rocky bottom or vegetation under the water.
Tips for Preventing Open Water Drowning
There are some things parents can do to help minimize the risk of drowning. Teach children the differences between swimming in open water and swimming in a pool. Even children who are able to swim in a pool might run into difficulty in open water. Provide swimming lessons and do not allow children who are not able to swim to get into water that is more than waist deep.
Watch children closely when they are in the water and never allow them to swim alone. Make sure kids know how to float and tread water. They should be able to swim with their head above water. Children should be able to jump into water that is over their heads and easily make their way to the surface. Children should wear life jackets when they are on a boat. Do not allow children to swim in areas that are not protected by lifeguards and heed any posted warnings.
Drowning can be prevented. While open water drowning is common, children also drown in swimming pools. Private swimming pools should be secured with fences and locked gates when not in use. Public pools should provide lifeguards, and children should not swim in water that is too deep for their abilities. If a child drowns due to someone’s negligence, the family may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss the accident and get answers to your questions.