Every year over 400 children drown in the U.S., and most of these tragedies could have been prevented if someone had been present, paying attention, and able to intervene quickly enough.
Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how old your child is or whether you think they can swim. Most drownings occur fast and silently.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for surviving families who lost children in drowning accidents. Our legal team fights aggressively to ensure our clients receive maximum compensation while seeking justice.
Call a Chicago drowning accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Swimming is a great and fun way for children to enjoy the warm summer weather, but a lack of proper pool safety measures is the leading cause of unintentional injury, death, or fatal drowning.
Whenever a child is injured in a public swimming pool, questions must be asked about the conditions that led to the pool accident and whether the pool owner took all of the required precautionary measures to protect the child.
Should an accident result from poor safety practices, lack of proper attending staff, lack of appropriate gates and entrances, or knowingly unaddressed safety hazards, the pool owner could be held liable due to negligence.
Child Drowning Accidents Is a Worldwide Problem
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization, drowning continues to be a serious problem on a global scale. Data reveals that in 2019, 412 children (ages 0 to 14-years old) died from fatal drowning in the United States, which is consistent with 2018.
This number does not include the number of children hospitalized for non-fatal drowning injuries or accidents that occurred off-site and away from the supervision of adults.
Data reveals that African-American children are disproportionately impacted by fatal drowning accidents than white children, with the highest rate of deaths occurring in children between 1 to 4-years old.
For example, African-American boys are five times more likely than Caucasian children to drown early. In addition, African-American children, especially girls, face a high risk for drowning accidents when they are only six months old.
Children often don't sense the risk associated with playing in or near water. It's an adult's job to monitor children while they are swimming and make sure that there is someone at all times who can quickly respond if anything goes wrong.
Moreover, according to CDC and World Health Organization, 1 in 5 people admit to staring at their phone while in or around water, leading to the highest drowning death rates.
Most drownings involving children can happen in seconds, so it's important to encourage children to learn how to swim and be vigilant when there is water nearby.
Drowning accounts for more than 40% of all deaths in toddlers 1 to 4 years of age, even more than congenital disabilities or another child injury.
Young Children and Swimming Pools Unintentional Injury Death Worldwide
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and CDC, the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children between 1-14 years is drowning.
In addition, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of these unintentional injuries are vehicle-related, while the remaining 31 percent involved drowning or other accidents that occurred within a residence or home.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics and CDC, in 2010, drowning was the third leading cause of injury-related death in children between ages one and 14-years old after motor vehicle crashes and suffocation.
Swimming Lessons Save Lives
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Teaching a child how to swim through professional training can be highly beneficial for younger children, beginning after their first year of life.
Children who take formal swimming lessons are taught to remain calm if they accidentally fall into a pool or other body of water. These training sessions also act as a preventative measure by reminding children not to play near the pool where they may fall in accidentally.
Formal swimming lessons help younger children develop swimming skills and learn water safety techniques, including breath control and floating on their backs. These skills can prevent tragic drowning accidents from occurring.
Some kids wear life jackets while they are learning to swim, but the CDC states that wearing a life jacket while swimming can reduce a child's ability to learn how to swim.
For this reason, it is important for parents and other adults to always remain within arm's reach of children when they are in or near the water to prevent drowning. In a child drowning accident, life jackets are unnecessary because the child is with an adult who has excellent swimming skills.
Drowning Prevention & Awareness Tips for Adults:
- Adults watching kids around water and limit distractions is effective drowning prevention
- Never leave children unsupervised around a pool and body of water, even for a brief period. Before you leave, teach the child to swim and institute an emergency plan should something happen while you're away from them
- Teach your children only to use swimming pools with proper fencing
- Another drowning prevention tip is to teach children in every age group to yell for help if they get confused or are not sure how to escape a dangerous situation that can lead to a drowning incident or non-fatal drowning injuries
- Avoid the use of inflatable flotation devices in place of life jackets. Please do not allow your child to swim without proper supervision, and always ensure they wear proper life jackets and gear whenever they are on boats or water that is not considered a pool
- Keep first aid equipment/supplies within reach of everyone near an open body of water, including ice.
Drowning Prevention & Awareness Tips for Children:
- Obey your parents' rules about pool use and always ask a lifeguard's permission before entering the water.
- Familiarize yourself with a pool's safety features and escape routes in case there is an emergency. Then, ensure you know how to get out of the pool in case you need it.
- Never try to climb around or jump over a pool's fence or any barrier that limits entry and exit. If a pool has an alarm system, make sure you know how to set it and use it if needed.
- Always wear proper life jackets and gear when boating or on any body of water that doesn't qualify as a swimming pool. Even pools require lifeguards to be on duty when children are in the water.
- Always take swimming lessons starting at age 4-5, recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In addition, most states require children to have completed a course in swim safety before being allowed to participate in school or community activities.
- Never allow anyone to swim alone and pay close attention to the people in the water even if you do not know them. Never allow children to play or swim near any body of water without proper adult supervision.
Drowning Facts: Children & Teens
Every year, the number of children and teens who die from drowning in the United States is estimated to be near 1,000; roughly 96% of these fatalities involve males.
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), between 2005 and 2014, the suicide rate among children between 5-14 years old doubled from 0.9 to 1.8 per 100,000 people.
In 2015, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S., including an estimated 3,786 10 to 14-year olds. In addition:
- Drowning is the number one leading cause of death for children between 1-4 years old
- Drowning is the second most common cause of injury-related death for children ages 4-14 years old
- For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for non-fatal drowning and submersion injuries
- Drowning is responsible for more than 1 in 5 unintentional injury-related deaths for children ages 1 to 4 years old
- About one in five drowning deaths happens before a victim reaches the hospital
- More than half of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (E.D.s) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (e.g., inpatient rehabilitation, neurosurgery, ventilator support)
- Children living in poverty are nearly twice as likely to drown as children not living in poverty
Swimming Pool Drowning Accidents
According to the CDC, an estimated 370 children under five years old drowned in home swimming pools during 2015.
Laws are in place to provide added protection for children, but many parents do not know how important it is to take precautions when in or near water to avoid a major public health problem. For example, most states require young children to wear life jackets while boating, but adult supervision and proper gate and entrance protections are equally critical.
For older children between 5-14 years old, drowning was the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for more than 6% of all injury-related deaths.
A recent study revealed that nearly one in five (20%) parents do not use any form of supervision when their children are swimming in a pool or spa.
Furthermore, this same study determined that roughly a third of parents (34%) state that they would never consider installing a fence or gate around their pool to prevent children from falling in accidentally.
A Child Drowning Accident & Your Legal Rights
When an experienced child drownings accident lawyer takes on your case, you are hiring someone who has the resources, skills, and experience necessary to identify responsible parties and prove the full extent of your damages.
In many cases, the negligent actions or inactions of a pool owner or another child were a leading cause of unintentional injury and death of your loved ones. In these instances, the liable party should be held accountable by law for their careless behavior and failing to correct the dangerous, leading cause of unintentional injury-related death of your child.
Child drownings accidents can be devastating for everyone involved, but these tragedies are preventable if the appropriate precautions are taken. Unfortunately, in a child drowning accident, negligence from a pool owner or caretaker is to blame for your loss.
If you have been affected by a child drowning accident and have additional questions about your legal rights, be sure to consult a knowledgeable child drowning accident lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 as soon as possible.
Child Non-Fatal Drowning Injuries
Near-drowning events can be catastrophic for younger and older children and community pools, rivers, lakes, and backyard swimming pools.
A recent study revealed that children who nearly drowned were more likely to experience problems like memory loss, learning disabilities, and permanent brain damage.
According to the study's authors, "After a near-drowning event, young children who are otherwise healthy may develop life-long complications that require special care." Preventing drowning using life-saving skills and often help weak swimmers not wearing drown-proof lifejackets and flotation devices.
Parents of younger children should take every precaution to ensure that their child does not wander near or fall into a body of water, such as a pool or natural pond.
In addition to taking simple precautions, parents should also educate themselves about drowning prevention and learn CPR to help save their children's lives if the unthinkable happens.
Another study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that teaching children how to swim and keeping a close watch on them when in or around water can help reduce the risk of drowning among younger children.
You don't have to deal with child drownings accidents, whether due to negligence of the pool owner or caretaker. However, just because you were not at fault for failing to prevent the accident does not mean you are not entitled to legal restitution after such an unfortunate event.
If your child has died due to drowning or another preventable accident, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.
Failure to Meet Staffing Requirements
The majority of child injuries that lead to hospitalization due to pool accidents could be prevented with proper supervision, and it is the law in Illinois that public pools be staffed with lifeguards whenever children under the age of sixteen are present. The presence of lifeguards can prevent or reduce the severity of injuries sustained in a pool accident during the following scenarios:
- A child attempts to dive into the pool's shallow end, which can cause severe trauma to the head, neck, and spine. The child may also drown following these injuries, and the presence of a lifeguard could prevent the incident from occurring or save the child's life.
- A small child falls into the pool and is unable to swim. Unfortunately, these accidents are more common than we believe, and a lifeguard would save the child from drowning.
- Children in the pool cause injury to one another by roughhousing or hazing one another. The lack of a staff member to notice safety issues and step in could make the pool owner liable.
Failure to Keep Children Out While Pool Is Closed
Illinois swimming pool code dictates that pool gates must be at least four feet tall, and entrances must be self-latching and closing to prevent small children from finding their way into the pool area while it is unattended.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that children drown because they enter a pool while it is unattended. Therefore, the gate requirements are explicitly designed to keep smaller children from wandering into the pool area by accident.
Was your child injured during the off hours at a pool? If so, it is important to retain legal advice from an experienced pool accident attorney to determine whether the pool owner did everything possible to prevent the incident.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experience with child drowning cases. Our drowning accident lawyers will investigate the leading cause of unintentional injury death and determine if it results from negligence.
Our team will then advise you on your legal options and rights. If you retain our services, an attorney will give your case the proper evaluation and let you know what to expect exactly in the future. Contact us today for a free consultation to determine whether you have a case. We will never expect payment unless we can settle or win your case.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped countless families in their time of need and would like to help you too. We care about your family's well being and know that you could use some guidance through this difficult time in your life.