Every year, more than 60 people across Oklahoma under the age of 15 drown. During the hot months of summer, it is always a treat to be able to hop into the pool and cool off. Parents enjoy taking their children to the local community pool and allowing their youngsters to splash around, however, swimming is not always safe, and unfortunately, can lead to drowning and death. More than three-fourths of drownings occur outdoors in natural bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, creeks, and ponds and these numbers increase during the summer.
Preventing Accidental Drownings in Oklahoma
No one wants to hear about a child drowning, and it is a sad reality that these accidents happen every day. Some of the ways to avoid unnecessary drowning’s are:
- Providing Supervision – supervision is the most important tip to prevent drownings. While many pools have lifeguards to watch children and other swimmers, parents should keep a close eye on their child nevertheless. Lifeguards are often tasked with watching a very crowded pool, and it only takes a few seconds for a child to slip under water and drown.
- Never leave children unattended by or near water – This may seem a little extreme, but parents have to remember that drownings happen in a matter of seconds, and leaving a child alone for a minute while you are answering a phone call or getting something to eat is more than enough time for an accident to happen.
- Use life jackets and flotation devices – nearly nine out of ten drowning occurs when a person is not wearing an approved life jacket. Children who cannot swim should not be left unattended even if they are wearing a life jacket or arm flotation devices, while these devices are designed to help children float, they are not intended to be rescued devices.
- Install pool fencing – If you have a pool it is a good idea to surround your pool with a gate that has a lock and is at least four feet tall. This not only protects your children but also prevents others from swimming in your pool and potentially drowning when you are not there.
In addition, it is always a good idea to take a CPR class. Many local ambulance agencies offer free classes, as well as community colleges and recreational agencies.
Warning Signs Someone is Drowning
A drowning can happen when you have your back turned for a minute, that is why it is always a good idea to maintain vigilance when you have a child swimming. However, even if you are watching your child you may not be sure what they are doing, are they just swimming and playing, or are they distressed. Remembering the following tips can help you identify when someone is drowning.
- Often people who are drowning often cannot call for help. When a swimmer is distressed they are often only able to get their mouth above water for a second to breathe and then they are back under water.
- While you may see signs that if you are in distress to wave your arms above your head, often drowning victims cannot wave their arms, and by the time they realize that they need help they are already too tired to wave their arms.
- Little or no forward movement distressed swimmers usually do not make any forward movement towards the wall or the shore. A telltale sign that someone is having difficulty and needs assistance is when they are bobbing up and down.
Many parents rely too heavily on lifeguards at local and community pools. While lifeguards do undergo some form of training, they are not always able to devote the absolute attention that your child deserves.
Who is Liable in a Drowning Accident?
Trying to determine who is liable when there has been a drowning is not always an easy thing. The answer depends on where and how they were injured. For a person to maintain a premises liability action they need to prove the following:
- The defendant was in charge of the property
- That the injured child was the type of person that the defendant could expect to be on the property
- The defendant did not exercise the proper amount of care
- The child was injured in a foreseeable way
- The defendant’s carelessness was a major cause of the child’s injury.
However, children may also be injured by faulty pool drains, which can pin a child underwater. In those cases, you may be able to file a products liability claim against the company for knowingly building a drain without enough safeguards to protect children from getting stuck in it.
Contact Our Lawyers in OKC for a Free Consultation
If you were hurt on property other than your own, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to contact the Oklahoma City premises liability attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook. We have many decades of experience helping accident victims in OKC obtain compensation for injuries, which were sustained on private and business properties.