Experts have concluded that drowning deaths among children this year have doubled when compared to previous years. Why is that? The experts believe the pandemic is responsible for this uptick.
According to doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, they have seen 18 drowning deaths between March and May. This is a huge jump as in the past years within that same time frame, there have been only 7 deaths.
The doctors attribute being “stuck” at home as the problem. Most infant and child drowning deaths happen at home in a child’s own pool, bathtub, hot tub, or other body of water in their home. So, with more children being at home, the opportunities for a drowning mishap go up.
The pandemic continuing through the summer has brought a surge of pool sales. Amazon and Target are selling out of their $30 inflatable pools and backyard water park toys. Big backyard swim spas sales have also increased. People are turning their yard spaces into their own vacation oasis and trying to keep their kids entertained. This is definitely a great way to spend the time, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wants to make sure everyone is aware of the dangers of these pools, inflatable, plastic, and otherwise.
Drowning deaths are the #1 cause of death for children between the ages 1 and 4. Drawing is also a leading cause of death among teens. The Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue says they have seen a 100% increase in drowning deaths among children from Jan. 1 through May 10, when compared to last year during this same time period. According to Florida Health, enough children drown every year to fill three to four preschool classrooms, and most drown before their fifth birthday.
It is so important to make sure we protect our children from unnecessary drowning deaths, and this includes adult supervision at all times. The following are some reminders to keep your kids safe in the pool this summer:
- Do not leave kids alone in or near water ever. You must supervise them at all times. Drowning deaths can happen in a matter of seconds. Take responsibility and make sure you always have someone officially on duty to watch the kids in the water.
- Teach your kids how to swim.
- Make sure your children know to steer clear of drains and suction outlets as these are dangerous.
- If you have a spa or pool, you need to install appropriate barriers, covers, and alarms. The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act in Florida requires that all outdoor swimming pools need to have a 4-foot fence or other barrier around the outer perimeter that does not have any gaps. This barrier should also be adequately away from any pool edges so that if a child does manage to break in, they do not fall into the pool. The Act also mandates that the entry through the barrier into the pool needs to open outward and have a self-closing and self-locking mechanism that a child cannot reach or access.
- Adults should learn and be prepared to perform CPR on infants, children, and adults.
- Buckets, inflatable pools, plastic pools, wading pools, and other devices holding water should be emptied right after use.
With so many children out of school, daycare, summer camps, etc. and parents trying to juggle watching them and working from home, it is very easy for a child to slip away undetected and get into the pool. Supervision is key, so we all must do our part to keep our kids safe. Stepping away for a few minutes can have devastating consequences. In fact, the AAP Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention says that most drownings of children under 5 happen in swimming pools and 69% of children who drown were not supposed to be swimming in the pool at the time of their tragedy.
Our Hernando County Swimming Pool and Drowning Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here for you if someone you love has been the victim of a drowning or near-drowning accident. In some drowning accidents, determining fault can be tricky. We have handled numerous swimming pools and drowning death claims, so we know what to look for in these cases to gather pertinent evidence. We want to make sure that any negligent parties are identified and held responsible for their recklessness.
As always, we want to encourage everyone to be safe this summer, and should you need our legal services, we are here for you. We are always available for a free consultation, so if you have any swimming pools or drowning death questions, please reach out to us.