It is summertime and during the hot, sunny days we love to be out by the swimming pool. Swimming, playing and splashing in the pool is a sure way to have summer fun, but it is even more important to make safety a priority to protect small children and others in and around the swimming pool.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of injury and death in young children ages 1 to 4. For toddlers, being around water poses a greatest risk of submersion and injuries. A non-fatal drowning can cause brain damage which may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and loss of motor skills, loss of basic functioning or even a permanent vegetative state.
One of the greatest offenders have become the portable or inflatable above-ground pools, particularly in children under five years of age. Because of their weak structure, the side of it can collapse or bend and cause someone to fall into the water and drown.
Here are some suggestions on how to reduce drowning accidents and avoid swimming pool injuries:
- Take up swimming lessons. Swimming lessons and water-safety procedures can start at a very young age, even as young as one! Assess your children's comfort in and around water, emotional maturity, physical limitations, and health concerns. You can check with your local park/school district for information, or see if a local health club offers swimming lessons for children.
- Learn how to properly perform CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be performed by bystanders. Waiting for an ambulance may take a few to several minutes before it arrives. Starting CPR immediately after a drowning can help reduce the chance of brain damage and other internal injuries. Check with your local library or fire department if they offer free CPR training and take your entire family.
- Walk, don't run policy. When in the pool, enforce a policy of walking instead of running around the pool area. This will reduce the number of slip-and-falls and head injuries.
- Have a fully-equipped First Aid Kit. If a child becomes injured, for example, scrapes an elbow or knee, have an emergency kit handy and close by. You can also leave directions in the kit on how to perform CPR, just in case. Some stores will sell already stocked emergency kits, but look through it and add anything else you think would be beneficial or may be lacking.
- Put up a fence. This helps to separate the pool from the yard and the house. It should be closed/locked at all times, unless a vigilant and responsible adult is with the kids in the pool area. Check your local hardware store for best options for your home.
- Always wear a life jacket. Novice swimmers and young children can benefit from wearing a properly fitted life jacket. You should never use air-filled or foam swimming pool toys as flotation support. These are toys for play and are not designed and should not be used as safety floating devices. Many stores sell life jackets in various sizes. Make sure you purchase one for each child and have them wear it at all times when in the pool.
- Do not allow pool access without proper supervision. Never allow children to be in or around a pool alone. Barriers, such as isolation fencing, door locks, gate locks, and alarms can be purchased at a local store. See what best suits your home and family.
- Think safety first while in and around the pool. Never leave a small child unattended or in the care of another child. An adult should always be present and should always be within arm's length. Adults who are watching children in/around the pool should not be distracted by other activities (such as reading, playing cards, texting sunbathing, talking on the phone, or doing some type of gardening chores). Drowning often happens very quickly and quietly. Be alert!
If you or someone you know is faced with a drowning accident, our Chicago personal injury lawyers can help. An accidental drowning can also be the result of negligence, and family members may have a claim for damages resulting from wrongful death or serious injury. Maybe you know of someone who has been in a swimming pool and involved in a negligent supervision accident, such as lifeguard negligence or an untimely response. Or you know of a victim who has been injured by a negligent design of a motor vehicle. The law firm of Morici, Figlioli & Associates represents several families in these types of claims.
If you or your family has been injured as a result of a similar incident, please do not hesitatecontact us at (312) 372-9600 to request a free consultation.