Two Recent Drowning Accidents Serve as Reminder of Dangers as Summer Approaches


May 21, 2011

There have been two recent swimming accidents in the Atlanta area that provide a stark reminder of the dangers of drowning as summer approaches.

A 51-year-old Buford man recently drowned while fishing in the Chattahoochee River. In another incident, a 4-year-old toddler managed to enter the swimming pool area of an apartment complex and fell into the pool. The toddler is now in a coma and on life support. Apparently, the gate to the pool was left unlocked.

It gets hot and humid here in Atlanta and throughout Georgia, so swimming is a great way to get relief from the heat and to have some fun with friends and family. Swimming or spending time in the water in general, whether it is in a pool, lake, or river can be dangerous, especially for children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing its public service announcements this year for 2011 that will be shown on TV and heard on the radio. These announcements are designed to give the public information on safety steps that they can take while in the water. They hope by making people more aware that they help save some lives.

There have already been 37 drownings and 38 near-drownings across our country and we are only in the first 6 months of 2011. Probably one of the most dangerous areas for children in particular is a swimming pool. Every year, 300 children under the age of 5 die and about 2,000 children over the age of 5 are taken to hospital ERs for injuries according to the CPSC.

The medical expenses involved when a person is treated for submersion injuries can be substantial. They can be as low as $2000 for a victim that is not seriously injured to hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims who suffer brain damage and have to stay in the hospital for a prolonged period of time.

Sunbelt Statistics

The CPSC did some research in the Sunbelt areas like California, Florida and Arizona where there is a lot of swimming pool use. Here is what the study revealed:

  • Approximately 75 percent of the submersion victims were between the ages of 1 and 3 years old with 65 percent of this group being boys.
  • 69 percent of the children were not expected to be near the pool according to the adults. They believed the kids were somewhere other than the pool when the accident occurred.
  • 65 percent of the accidents occurred in the victim's own swimming pool while 33 percent of the incidents happened at the pool of a friend or relative.
  • 75 percent of the child victims had been missing for less than 5 minutes when the accident occurred.

Safety Measures

One of the most important preventative measures that can be taken in regard to swimming pool incidents is the installation of barriers. Barriers can come in the form of fences, walls, gates, safety covers and/or door alarms. None of these safety measures are designed to take the place of adequate supervision nor are they meant to be relied upon to be absolutely childproof. What they can do is provide a measure of protection to give a parent more time in the event that they lose track of a child and need to get to them before there is a swimming pool accident.

Fences

Sometimes a whole yard is fenced, meaning the house is part of the enclosure. If this is the case, then the house should have door alarms on it to alert a parent if the child has left the confines of the house. It is sometimes less dangerous to have a second fence around the pool itself inside of the backyard fence.

Whatever type of fence is installed it must be at least 4 feet high or more and should not be climbable. If there are vertical slats in the fence then the space between the slats should be less than 4 inches apart so a child cannot get their head through the spaces between the fence planks. It is also important to make sure that the gate is in proper working order at all times and that it completely closes and latches every single time. The latch should be at least 54 inches from the bottom of the gate.

Door Alarms

There is a choice between battery and electrically powered alarms. They make a loud, audible sound when a door to the outside of the house is opened. A keypad can be installed that can allow adults to regulate the alarm for entering and exiting the home.

Power Pool Safety Covers

The ASTM is the organization that regulates the performance standards of these pool covers. They require that a cover withstand the weight of two adults and a child. This would allow for a rescue should someone fall onto the cover. The covers need to be able to quickly shed water, as there should never be any standing water left on top of the cover. These covers are motor-driven and can easily open and close covering the pool fully. They prohibit access to the pool by children.

Above Ground Pools

A homeowner should remove or lock-up steps and ladders when the pool is not in use to prevent access.

Swimming Lessons

Another important safety precaution is to enroll your children into swimming lessons as soon as they are developmentally able to participate. These are just some of the ways that you can help prevent swimming pool accidents from occurring. None of these take the place of adult supervision of children at all times around a pool. Drowning and pool accidents can and frequently do happen in minutes. Adults need to pay attention at all times rather than socializing, talking on cell phones, doing chores or drinking alcohol. If your child is the victim of a swimming accident and it is due to a lack of adult supervision while your child is swimming elsewhere, or failure to secure a pool from access by young children, then you should contact the swimming pool accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law.

The Georgia swimming pool accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been helping the victims of swimming pool accidents throughout Atlanta and the state of Georgia since 1984. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com.  No matter where you are, we are just a phone call away.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.