With Texas's great weather extending into the fall, people are still going to be outside enjoying the warmth and taking advantage of the many recreational activities that are popular during this season. Unfortunately, this also means there is an increased drowning risk, especially for children. A large amount of homes, apartment complexes, and hotels in Texas have swimming pools and spas, which, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, are a leading cause of drowning for children under the age of 15.
In fact, Texas is the number one state for child drownings. More deaths are due to drowning among children between the ages of one to four than any other cause of accidental death.
A preventable cause of death
NBC 5 reported that 41 children in Texas have drowned since the beginning of 2013, almost half of them occurring in home or apartment swimming pools. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, installing a four-sided fence around a private swimming pool or spa can reduce the risk of drowning by at least 50 percent. Safeguards that are common to some other states with a high amount of backyard pools have been proven to reduce the risk of child drowning. However, Texas currently lacks statewide legislation regarding protection on private pools and spas.
Protecting children from accidental drowning
Often, a child will fall into a pool and nobody will hear or notice the accident before it's too late. One Texas woman nearly lost her 3-year-old daughter after the child quietly slipped into the family's backyard pool. The child was in the hospital for four months and had to undergo intensive therapy to recover. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services recommends several ways to protect children from drowning in backyard pools:
- Install fencing and alarms around the pool area.
- Ensure young children aren't able to leave the house on their own.
- Never leave children alone around water, and keep a constant eye on them when they're near the pool.
- Know which friends and neighbors have pools.
- Know emergency numbers and learn CPR.
Also, taking such precautions as getting children swimming lessons, and providing life jackets for non-swimmers greatly reduces the risk of drowning.
When to contact an attorney
The tragic death of a child can result in thousands of dollars in medical and funeral expenses, not to mention the unbelievable pain the rest of the family experiences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that non-fatal drownings can result in severe long-term consequences such as brain damage, learning disabilities and living in a permanent vegetative state.
If you've been impacted by a family member's death or injury due to an accidental drowning, you may be eligible to receive compensation, and should contact a personal injury lawyer to see what your options are.