When temperatures rise, children are drawn to water for both relief and entertainment, whether in their own backyards or at the local beach or public pool. However swimming and other water-related activities can quickly turn a situation from fun to frightening. There are many causes for how and why children die from drowning, but a major factor is the lack of adult supervision - which may lead to wrongful death lawsuits for negligence.
Nothing is more devastating than the death of a child, especially when it could have been prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning fatalities are the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children under 15 years old; with children under the age of 5 suffering the highest rates of drowning, with almost 30 percent dying from drowning in comparison to other unintentional injuries in 2007. And, for every child who drowns, four more receive emergency care for submersion injuries.
Lack of Supervision
Younger children risk drowning in many bodies of water other than pools, lakes and the sea, they are also at risk of drowning in bathtubs, buckets, toilets and kiddie pools. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a lapse in adult supervision is the main contributing factor when children die from drowning, even when safety measures are in place. This can include inattention by a lifeguard at a beach or public pool, by an adult tasked with watching children involved in water-related activities, or by a parent giving a child a bath.
While constant and attentive supervision is the best way to avert the possibility of a child drowning, there are other safety measures available. The CDC offers that because many children under 5 years old drown in residential pools, fence barriers that prevent access to pool areas are a necessity. Further, the CDC notes that four-sided pool fences can reduce the risk of children drowning by 83 percent. In addition, enrolling children under 5 years old in formal swimming lessons lowers the threat of drowning by 88 percent.
Negligence and Wrongful Death
Some drownings that involve children are unfortunate accidents, but others occur as a direct result of an adult's negligence. Whether a public pool had too few or poorly trained lifeguards, or the owner of a private pool failed to adequately supervise while children were playing near or swimming in a pool, these adults should be held accountable if any of the children whom they were supposed to watch is injured or drowns.
If you are the parent of a child who was injured or died as a result of submersion injuries while another adult was in charge of their care, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.