When it comes to children and water, we can never be too cautious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is not only the leading cause of unintentional injury death among young children but also a prevalent risk for all children. This risk escalates during the hot Texas summers when swimming pools become a favorite retreat.
Without a doubt, pools offer a welcome respite from the heat and an excellent avenue for children’s physical activity. However, they can quickly turn into a drowning hazard without the necessary precautions. This risk isn’t exclusive to swimming pools, though. Hot tubs, baby pools, and even bathroom doors left ajar with a filled bathtub can all pose serious threats, especially to curious toddlers.
Every drowning incident leaves an indelible mark on a person’s life, and the ripple effects are far-reaching. For families, the emotional toll is immeasurable. For communities, it serves as a somber reminder of our collective responsibility to protect children.
At Abraham Watkins, we have seen the aftermath of these tragedies. As a team committed to water safety, we fervently believe in the power of education and prevention. We understand the significant role that responsible adults play in providing close and constant supervision, enforcing water safety rules, and ensuring that areas like the pool area and the bathroom door are secured.
The urgency for drowning prevention is clear, and your role as an adult in your child’s life cannot be overstated. Even as we are prepared to provide legal support in the aftermath of a drowning, our greater wish is to empower you with the knowledge to prevent such tragedies in the first place.
Abraham Watkins – Drowning Accident Attorneys You Can Trust
Abraham Watkins is a leading Texas law firm with deep roots in personal injury law, including cases of unintentional drowning. For decades, our firm has stood strong, driven by the unwavering belief that every individual has a right to safety and justice. We are more than just attorneys; we are advocates, educators, and, most importantly, pillars of support during challenging times.
Specializing in cases of child drowning, we are equipped with a thorough understanding of the legal nuances and emotional complexities involved. Our experienced team is adept at investigating incidents, establishing liability, and tirelessly advocating for our client’s rights in court.
But our responsibility doesn’t end with litigation. We consider it our duty to help parents navigate through their devastating loss and toward healing and closure. We are also committed to drowning prevention, working tirelessly to educate the public about water safety.
If you find yourself grappling with the aftermath of a child drowning accident or death, please know that you’re not alone. With our support, you can seek justice, hold negligent parties accountable, and potentially prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Our compassionate team is ready to listen, understand, and guide you through the complex legal process with utmost sensitivity and dedication.
Key Steps to Preventing Child Drowning
Creating a safe environment for our children around water is crucial. Here are some critical steps that can significantly reduce the risk of drowning and ensure the safety of your child:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends swim lessons as a critical layer of protection against drowning for most children starting at the age of 1. Swimming lessons can equip your child with essential swimming skills and instill a healthy respect for water.
Ensure your children wear life jackets when near bodies of water. Unlike water wings or other flotation devices, life jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard are designed to keep the child’s head above water and maintain their body in a safe position.
An attentive, responsible adult should always supervise children when they are in or near water. Assign a water watcher who can stay focused on the children without distractions like cell phone usage or yard work. This supervision should be close and constant, keeping children at arm’s length, especially if they’re young or poor swimmers.
Install self-closing and self-latching gates around swimming pools and hot tubs. Four-sided fencing isolates the pool area from the house and yard, reducing a child’s risk of drowning by 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing.
Installing barriers is also crucial in protecting yourself from the liability you may face if somebody else’s children or even adults who are visiting your property have an accident. If your pool has a sign posted and barriers are in place, you have taken the appropriate steps.
Water Safety Rules
Educate children about basic water safety rules, such as not swimming without adult supervision, not running near the pool area, and not pushing others underwater. For older children, enforce a buddy system even when a lifeguard is present.
Emergency Accident Preparation
For parents that know the risks, and who have a pool on their premises, it can be a smart idea to do some basic preparation for emergencies. Learning basic CPR skills and some water rescue skills may prove instrumental in saving somebody’s life someday. These life saving skills can be learned for fairly cheap through local courses and online.
Keep bathroom doors closed, install safety latches on toilets, and empty buckets and baby pools immediately after use. Small children can drown in just an inch of water.
Remember, while swimming skills are important, they’re not a substitute for constant supervision and protective barriers. It’s the layered approach to water safety that truly helps prevent drownings. By implementing these measures, we not only ensure the safety of our children but also promote a culture of water safety in our community.
The Role of Adult Supervision and the ‘Water Watcher’ Concept
Even with all the safety precautions, the risk of a child drowning never fully disappears. Therefore, adult supervision is absolutely essential, forming the primary layer of protection. This supervision should be close and constant. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, young children and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision”.
Enter the role of the ‘Water Watcher’. A Water Watcher is a responsible adult tasked with supervising children in or around water. This is not just limited to pool time, but also extends to baths and even non-swim times where a child might unexpectedly access water (think open post holes filled with rainwater or drainage ditches).
As a Water Watcher, you are expected to:
Keep your eyes on the children at all times. Drownings happen quickly and often silently.
Cell phones, socializing, or engaging in other activities can significantly divert your attention. When watching children near water, avoid these distractions.
Understand the Risks
Understand that items like water wings, noodles, or other inflatable devices are not safety devices and can create a false sense of security.
Know How to Respond
Familiarize yourself with the basics of life-saving, including CPR and safe rescue techniques. If a child is missing, check the water first.
At Abraham Watkins, we advocate for the Water Watcher concept, believing it to be an effective way to prevent child drowning. By spreading awareness about this concept, we aim to reduce the number of drowning incidents and create safer environments for our young ones.
Understanding and Mitigating Common Drowning Risks
Many people imagine drowning to be a loud and dramatic event. However, in reality, it can be silent and occur in less than a minute, especially when it comes to young children. Thus, understanding potential drowning risks in everyday scenarios is vital in mitigating them.
Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs
These are obvious water hazards, and children should always be supervised by a responsible adult when around them. Ensure the installation of self-closing and self-latching gates for pool areas, and never leave a hot tub cover open when not in use.
Bathtubs, Toilets, and Household Items
Even small amounts of water can pose a drowning risk for a young child. Always keep the bathroom door closed when not in use, and never leave a child unattended in a bath, not even in a bath seat. Emphasize that toilets are not toys by installing safety latches. Empty buckets, coolers, or other containers immediately after use.
Natural Water Bodies
Lakes, rivers, and oceans present additional risks, including currents, uneven surfaces, and unpredictable changes in weather. Children should wear life jackets when near or in natural water bodies, regardless of their swimming skills.
Many drownings occur when it’s not ‘swim time’. Young kids, being naturally curious, might try to access water when no one is watching. Ensure all barriers and gates are securely locked to prevent unsupervised access to water bodies. It can be a good idea to install a self-latching gate.
In case of a drowning incident, immediate emergency care can be the difference between life and death. Call 911, begin CPR, and if possible, use an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available.
By understanding the risks, you are better equipped to protect your child from drowning. And remember, at Abraham Watkins, we stand with you in promoting water safety and preventing drowning tragedies.
The Legal Aspect of Drowning Accidents
Despite our best efforts, drowning accidents can still occur. When they do, it’s important to understand the legal remedies available. At Abraham Watkins, we’re here to guide you through these complex legal waters.
If a drowning or near-drowning incident happens due to someone else’s negligence, they could be held legally responsible. This could include a neighbor who failed to secure their pool, a lifeguard who wasn’t paying attention, or a product manufacturer if a safety device like a life jacket fails.
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Claims
If your child tragically dies in a drowning accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. A personal injury claim might be appropriate if your child survives but suffers serious, potentially life-altering injuries. Both types of claims can provide compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. A premises liability claim could be pursued if a child drowns or is injured in a pool or hot tub due to lack of proper fencing, absence of safety equipment, or failure to maintain the area safely.
A product liability claim might be warranted if a child drowns due to a defective product, such as a faulty pool gate latch or a life jacket that doesn’t work as it should.
Contact Abraham Watkins Today!
Every child deserves the joy and life-long benefits of being around water, but safety must always be the priority. From practicing constant supervision and promoting swim lessons to creating safer environments around pools, every effort counts towards preventing child drowning.
At Abraham Watkins, we stand in solidarity with families to advocate for safety and protect our children. Beyond litigation, we are invested in educating communities about water safety, supporting grieving families, and working towards a world where no child loses their life to drowning.
If your child has been involved in a tragic drowning accident at a pool party or a near-drowning incident, please know you are not alone. Reach out to us for compassionate guidance and legal assistance. We’re committed to helping families navigate the complex legal landscape, holding the responsible parties accountable, and seeking justice for you and your loved ones.
Call us at 713-535-9319.