Keeping Kids Safe this Fourth of July

Fourth of July weekend is a great time for families to have a cookout and enjoy a day at the pool. While this can be a lot of fun, our personal injury lawyers urge you to take extra precautions to make sure the kids stay safe.

fireworks12.jpgA swimming pool, whether it is the backyard or a public facility, poses many dangers to children. Some of these dangers, like drowning, are obvious, but there are also some less obvious dangers like slip and fall accidents. According the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, an average of 29 children will die each year across the state from drowning. Many of these deaths occur in children aged one to five and primarily in children with little or no prior swimming lessons or other experience with the water. It was also noted that insufficient supervision of small children at the pool played a large part in these tragedies.

It is imperative that small children be watched at all times when they are in the water. It is also important for parents to familiarize themselves with what drowning actually looks like. In the movies and on TV, we are used to seeing people thrashing around in the water with arms flailing wildly. We see huge splashes until the victim finally slips below the surface of the water. While this Hollywood depiction of drowning may add to the drama on the big screen, it is often far from what drowning looks like in real life. Often, drowning victims have reached a level of fatigue that makes it difficult to keep their heads above water. Once a victim starts having trouble breathing, he or she may start to experience blackouts, hypoxia, or other neurological symptoms caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. The victim will likely be completely silent at this point, with very little movement.

There will probably not be any thrashing around in the water or screaming. The drowning victim may succumb to a lack of oxygen, and it may be too late to save them. While a trained lifeguard should be able recognize this silent drowning behavior, parents who are relying on only what they have seen on television may have no clue their child is drowning until it is too late.

In addition to drowning, there are also other causes of personal injury while at the pool, including tripping and falling while on the pool deck, unsafe conditions caused by pool filtration equipment, and even poisoning or burns caused by improperly stored pool chemicals like Chlorine.

Civil cases can sometimes be brought under a theory of premises liability, negligence, or negligent supervision and/or retention. It is extremely important to get the names of any witnesses and take photographs of the dangerous condition. You may be in litigation more than a year later, and having access to witnesses or photographs taken at the time of the accident may be crucial to your case.

If you have been injured, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Annual Report of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force to the Governor and General Assembly

More Blog Entries:

Pools and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?, May 13, 2014, North Carolina Injury Lawyers Blog

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