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Water Safety: Preventing Drowning Accidents

By: Allan M. Siegel

Summer is here, and many in the DC metro area are cooling off by jumping in the water. If you and your loved ones are enjoying water activities this summer, we would like to remind you about the importance of keeping yourself and your children safe.

Drowning accidents happen all the time – at private and public pools, bathtubs, the beach, and other places where water is present. Drownings and near drownings can also happen to people of all ages, though younger children face the greatest risks.

DC Drowning Lawyer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms drowning accidents are a serious problem throughout the country – and that these accidents increase during summer. Here are a few facts from the CDC:

  • An average of 10 people in the U.S. die from unintentional drowning each day.
  • Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five require emergency medical treatment for submersion injuries.
  • Nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage, and may potentially cause long-term disabilities such as memory problems and learning disabilities.

Staying Safe Around Water: How to Reduce Drowning Risks

To help you and your loved ones stay safe around water this summer, we've compiled a list of risk factors and tips:

  • Swimming Skills – Statistics show swimming lessons can significantly reduce drowning risks. Make sure you and your children have swimming skills and are comfortable in the water. Many local youth organizations and programs offer swimming classes during the summer. Even toddlers can learn to roll over and float on their backs when in the water, an essential skill that could save their lives.
  • Fences and Barriers – Fences, gates, and barriers around pools prevent children from accessing the pool area without supervision. Four sided isolation fences can reduce child drowning risks by 83% compared to three-sided property line fencing. If you have a pool at home, install a fence or barrier.
  • Supervision – Supervision is critical anywhere water is present, including private and public pools and bathtubs. Children should always be supervised when in or around water. Using the buddy system and swimming with a friend is also safer than swimming alone.
  • CPR – Research has shown CPR performed quickly can save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. It takes time for paramedics to arrive, so knowing CPR and being able to quickly help a victim is important.
  • Shallow Water Blackout – Be careful of allowing children to hyperventilate before swimming underwater or hold their breath for too long. This can cause them to pass out while underwater, known as a shallow water blackout.
  • Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol plays a role in many preventable drowning accidents. Drink responsibly when around water, supervising children, or boating.

Our personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. hope you enjoy summer and stay safe when having fun in the water. We have handled cases involving accidents throughout the DC Metro area, including drowning and near drowning incidents, and we offer our help to anyone who wants to learn more about their rights after a preventable accident. Contact us today if you would like to discuss a potential case.