Child Safety: Federal Agency Calls for Fencing Swimming Pool Areas
Drowning is a top cause of death for kids in California and throughout the United States. Taking steps to prevent drowning accidents is extremely important to reduce the dangers to children. A California injury lawyer offers statistics on the incidence of drowning deaths and discusses how one federal agency is urging swimming pool owners to put up fences to improve child safety in their areas.
Protecting Kids from Drowning Dangers
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of one and four. Children throughout California and the rest of the United States are all at risk of dying or suffering serious injury in a swimming pool, lake or other body of water.
Because drowning is such a grave risk for children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released a call to action prompting swimming pool owners to put fences around their pools. The CPSC reports that the majority of child drowning deaths do occur in backyard swimming pools, and that there have been no entrapment deaths since 2008.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Drowning Facts
- 390 swimming pool or spa related drownings occur each year on average, with 76 percent of the victims ages five and under.
- Each year, 5,100 children under the age of 15 visit the emergency room for treatment of submersion injuries that occur in swimming pools and spas. A total of 78 percent of ER patients with submersion injuries are aged five and under.
- Children between the ages of one and three account for 67 percent of drowning accident fatalities and 64 percent of injuries.
“These statistics show that, on average, more than one child dies each day as a result of an accident in a swimming pool or a spa, with hundreds more kids being injured over the course of the year,” explained the California injury lawyer. “Protecting children from these risks should be a top priority.”
CPSC Calls for Fencing Swimming Pool Areas
One of the most important ways of protecting children from drowning is preventing unauthorized access to swimming pools. Local zoning requirements always require that swimming pools be securely fenced with a latching gate. When a homeowner or building owner fails in the obligation to fence in the pool and to keep the area secured, the owner can become legally responsible if a child enters the property and drowns in the swimming pool.
Because swimming pools are considered attractive to children, they are classified under the law as “attractive nuisances.” This means that a homeowner or building owner can be legally liable for injuries that a child sustains even when the child is trespassing on the property, according to the California injury lawyer.
In order to avoid potential liability and to perhaps save a child’s life, homeowners need to ensure that they have followed all requirements for securing a pool. The CPSC reminded homeowners of this obligation with the call to action released this year.
Understanding What Drowning Looks Like
Unfortunately, even children who are using a pool with supervision can be at risk of drowning. This is because many people are unaware of exactly what drowning looks like. As the Orange County Register reported, most people think that drowning looks as it does in the movies, with people kicking, splashing and shouting for help.
In reality, however, drowning victims cannot kick and splash and are also unable to scream. Instead, drowning victims will normally exhibit the following physical characteristics:
- Their head tilted back
- Their mouth at water level
- Their body vertical
- Their body facing towards land
- Their legs moving as if they are climbing up a ladder
Those supervising children should watch for these signs of drowning in order to ensure that kids do not drown while under their care. When there is a lifeguard at a swimming pool or a care provider is supposed to be supervising swimming children and fails to notice or take action in a drowning, then the caregiver or pool operator could potentially be held legally responsible for a drowning injury and thus responsible for compensating victims and their families for losses.
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