What Are Common Causes of Drowning?
One of the most tragic aspects of a drowning death is that it likely could have been prevented. Residential and public pools are fraught with danger that many people may not notice, but these dangers can be deadly to young swimmers. In fact, underwater suffocation is the second-leading cause of fatal accidents for children between one and fourteen years old. Many of these dangers can be mitigated with proper care of the pool and its surroundings, proper supervision, and having trained lifeguards on duty. Public pools should also maintain basic first aid and rescue equipment in the event of an accident.
Poor Water Maintenance
One of the leading causes of fatal swimming pool accidents is poor water maintenance. Over time, neglecting to treat the water can cause the pool to become murky. It may not be obvious from water level how murky it is, but lifeguards and supervising adults will find it much harder to look down into the water if it is not well kept. Shocking the water or allowing sediment to build up can create a cloudy effect, possibly shielding anyone who is suffocating under water from view. Because a drowning death can occur within a few minutes, a victim may not be seen until it is too late if the water is not completely clear.
Poor Upkeep and Lack of Training
Ill-trained staff and poor upkeep of safety equipment are also common causes of drowning accidents in the water. Drains without covers can grab clothing or hair and hold people underwater. Failing to outfit the pool area with life preservers or flotation equipment for lifeguards can make rescue efforts difficult. Municipal and private commercial pool owners have a responsibility to maintain these safety standards, but they are all too often neglected by the supervising party.
Young children are also particularly at risk in pools that are crowded. Every swimming area can only handle a limited number of people at once, and lifeguards on duty must ensure this. If they don’t, young children may be injured or pushed underwater without anyone noticing.
Lifeguards Must Be Capable of Administering First Aid
Lifeguards supervising the pool area must be capable of administering first aid in the event of an accident. These professionals must act quickly and decisively using their knowledge to prevent a fatal accident. In most cases, the pool supervisor is not responsible for training the lifeguard, as this is usually handled by a third party that specializes in this training. However, if it is clear following a fatal accident that the lifeguard was not adequately prepared for their duties, the training company may be responsible for any damages.
Equipping the Premises With a Gate
Finally, all pool areas, whether public, private or residential, must be protected with a sufficient gate that cannot be accessed by younger children. Erecting a barrier like this can reduce the rate of fatal water accidents by fifty to ninety percent. This is a necessary feature that any home that expects children must consider.
Following a drowning death, the victim’s family may consider speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney. Texas maintains a number of pool safety regulations that all pool supervisors and owners must adhere to, and an experienced attorney will do what it takes to hold the responsible party accountable for the accident.