Pools are a wonderful way to beat the South Carolina heat, spending an afternoon splashing and playing, providing the kids – and you – with a relatively inexpensive and easy source of entertainment.
But pools, as fun as they are, can be a serious danger. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2005 to 2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings per year that were not boating related.About 20 percent of those who died in drowning accidents were children under the age of 14. The CDC further reports that for every one child who dies in a drowning accident, an additional five receive emergency room care for near-drowning related injuries.
Drowning Injuries in South Carolina
According to the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, drowning is the number one cause of injury related deaths amongst children ages one to four. In South Carolina, data from 2000 to 2010 shows that over this time period, 223 children and teens died from drowning incidents.
When drowning injuries are not fatal, they can have serious long-term consequences. The CDC data cited above provides information about traumatic brain injuries caused by a lack of oxygen from a near-drowning experience. Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that is disabling, resulting in permanent memory and concentration problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning, such as speech or cognition.
Causes of Pool Accidents and Drowning/Near-Drownings
Pool accidents are not limited to drowning or near drowning incidents. Other types of pool accidents that can cause catastrophic injury or death include:
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Diving accident injuries (traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures); and
- Swimming pool disembowelment from swimming pool drains.
Most of these accidents are completely preventable, and occur because of a lack of parental/adult supervision, running or horse play on slippery and dangerous surfaces, objects and debris making walking surfaces dangerous, wiring near water or use or electric-powered devices near water, diving or jumping into pools, uncovered swimming pool drains, inability to swim, and a lack of use of flotation devices.
How to Prevent Pool Accidents and Injuries Involving Children
As a parent of a child in South Carolina, there is likely nothing more worrisome to you than the idea of your child being significantly injured; the idea of your child drowning is surely horrific. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the risk of your child being injured at the swimming pool, including:
- Talking to your child about safe swimming practices, including never entering a pool alone or when an adult is not present;
- Talking to your child about the dangers of running around pools, engaging in horseplay, or diving head-first into shallow waters;
- Supervising your child at all times – the best way to prevent a drowning-related injury or death is to always know where your child is and whether or not they are safe in the pool;
- Signing your child up for swim lessons;
- Putting a barrier around a home pool to keep your child, and other children, out when you’re not around;
- Making sure your home pool’s drain is protected with up-to-date safety features;
- Using child-appropriate flotation devices, including approved life vests; and
- Learning CPR, which may save your child’s life in the event of a near death incident caused by drowning.
What to Do if Your Child is Injured at the Pool
At the law offices of Peake & Fowler, our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys sincerely hope that you never become one of the parents that has to cope with losing a child to a pool-related injury, or a parent whose child is seriously harmed during what was supposed to be a fun day in the sun.
If your child is injured, we can assure you that we will advocate for you to help you seek compensation for losses your family has suffered. We can build a case against the manufacturer of a pool drain, a property owner, or another liable party if your child’s pool injury would not have occurred but for the negligence of another. If you have questions or if your child is harmed, please contact us today at (803) 788-4370 to schedule your free consultation.