Summer is approaching, although it feels very different this year because of COVID-19. Kids have been out of school for months and many are looking forward to traditional summertime activities like swimming at the local public pool, swimming at a friend's house, or floating in a lake or river.
According to an article in the New York Times, “Children May Be At Higher Risk of Drowning This Summer.” There are a number of reasons why kids may be more at risk this year, including:
- Less swimming under the watch of lifeguards,
- More people putting pools in their backyard,
- Hotter weather means more swimming time, and
- Kids swimming without swim lessons.
Leading Causes of Death for Children Age 1 to 9
This chart, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows unintentional drowning as the number one leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children aged 1 to 4. For Children aged 5 to 9, unintentional drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death after motor vehicle accidents.
Increased Risk of Drowning for Summer 2020
There may be fewer public pools open with trained lifeguards on duty, leaving more kids swimming under the eye of untrained parents or siblings. Lifeguards may not always be as attentive as they should be but they generally have training to look for signs of breathing distress in children. Many parents do not know what to look for.
With many summer camps closed and city recreation programs delayed or eliminated, the source for swim lessons has dried up for many parents. Swimming lessons give children the tools they need to swim confidently. Without lessons or experience, children may not be confident swimmers and panic if they get water in their mouth or cannot touch the bottom of the pool.
Meteorologists estimate there is a 50% to 75% chance that 2020 will be the hottest year on record since measurements began. One of the easiest ways for parents to deal with the heat is to take their kids to the pool where they can immediately cool off. With public pools operating at limited capacity, parents may be more tempted to buy an above ground pool or visit friends or family with a pool.
Drownings can happen anywhere a child is near a pool of water. Even a couple of inches of water is enough to cause a young child to suffer a drowning accident. A backyard splashing pool that is only a foot or two deep can be enough to drown a child.
Parents going into the house to get a drink, answer the phone, or sign for a delivery, may be all it takes for a child to drown. Leaving kids in the hands of a babysitter or older sibling may have the supervisor texting, playing games, or scrolling social media instead of watching the kids.
Drowning Accident Lawyers in Philadelphia
Drowning accidents can cause permanent brain damage or death. Many of these unfortunate accidents can be prevented. Unfortunately, negligent homeowners, caregivers, and pool owners may have contributed to the accident, leaving a family dealing with the loss of a child.
When someone else negligently causes a drowning accident, they should be held accountable for their actions. A personal injury or wrongful death claim can help recover compensation for the victims and their families.
If a loved one has died as a result of a drowning accident in Philadelphia, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with drowning accident cases in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Contact us today for a free consultation.