Unfortunately, in Missouri and across the country, every summer needless accidental drownings result in wrongful death or near drownings that lead to severe brain injury because of prolonged lack of oxygen to feed the brain. According to statistics from the CDC an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drowning occur every year in the U.S. That means that every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Though kids and swimming pools go hand in hand over the long, hot summer months, parents should be on alert when their young children are around water. Additionally, just because yo are at a public pool, such as a hotel or resort pool, don't assume their lifeguards and/or safety rules are enough to ensure the safety of and protect your family.
Though adults can drown too, young children are at a special risk of accidental drowning during the summer months. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest rate of drowning. Also, nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male. Among young children, most drowning occurs in home swimming pools.
Beyond death due to drowning, another terrifying prospect is the risk of permanent injury. Debilitating conditions due to brain injury and lax of oxygen can leave a child permanently damaged. According to data, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
According to the CDC, the main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders.
Parents should consider the following tips to keep themselves and their young children safe when around the water:
Supervise Your Kids When Around Water - Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while children are swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide "touch supervision," being close enough to reach the child at all times in case of emergency. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity.
Learn to Swim - Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning though strong supervision is still required when young kids are near the water.
Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) - In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone's life.
If you're the owner of a swimming pool then there are additional precautions you should take to ensure that everyone leaves your gathering safe and sound.
Install Four-Sided Fencing - Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children.
Clear the Pool and Deck of Toys - Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
Get Alarms - Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water and consider using a surface wave or underwater alarms.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a water-related accident and have questions, call one of our Missouri personal injury attorneys today at 1-314-863-0500.
Source: "Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts," published at CDC.gov.
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