The USA Swimming Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to increasing pool safety and access (and teaching children across the country how to swim), reports some sobering statistics about spa and pool-related accidental deaths across the country this summer.
The foundation analyzed national media coverage and found 163 reported drowning deaths of children under the age of 15 in public and private pools and spas across America between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2017. Tragically, nearly 70 percent of the victims were children five years old or younger.
As sad as this news is, it does come with a small “silver lining.” Though each and every drowning death of a child is unfathomably sad, there was a decrease year-over-year from 2016. Last year, 205 young people lost their lives in similar circumstances during the same timeframe.
Dangers persist year-round
Even though the fall season is upon us, the weather is still warm in Tennessee and north Georgia this time of year. Average daytime temperatures are still high enough to keep outdoor pools swimmable. Plus some outdoor pools are heated. There are also abundant indoor pools at hotels, gyms, community centers and water parks throughout the state. And the high temperatures mean that swimming and boating in nearby lakes remain an option. This means that the risk of drowning still exists, particularly for children. Water safety is still an absolute must, even in the cooler months.
Here are some tips for keeping yourself – and your children – safe around the water all year long:
- Teach your children to swim – This may seem basic, but it is very important. A child without the ability to swim is much more likely to drown than one with even rudimentary knowledge (like being able to “doggy paddle” or float on your back).
- Actively supervise children and vulnerable adults at all times – The vast majority of pool and spa-related drowning deaths are children. Youngsters and those with special needs should always be under the supervision of a responsible, sober adult.
- Try to swim when a trained lifeguard is on duty, but don’t rely solely on them – Many water parks and community facilities have trained lifeguards on duty at all times, but even then, the risk of injury or death is real. Adults should still supervise children. The majority of hotels and gyms don’t have lifeguards, so extra care is vital at those locations.
- Follow posted safety guidelines – Make sure that your children obey posted rules, like not diving into the shallow end, not running around the pool, and not getting too close to drains and pumps. After all, the rules exist to help keep everyone safe.
In spite of your best efforts to keep yourself and your children safe around pools, spas, and lakes, sometimes tragic incidents occur. If a serious injury or drowning happens because of negligence, you may be able to bring a legal claim. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more.