Summer has officially arrived in South Carolina, which means many will be spending long days at swimming pools. Unfortunately, pool season is very dangerous for young children who are at risk of drowning due to improper supervision or as a result of the failure of property owners to follow basic pool safety rules.
Homeowners have an obligation to secure their swimming pools and make sure young children cannot wander in and drown. If your child is injured or killed in a swimming pool accident due to a homeowner’s failure to act, you can take legal action to recover compensation. A Charleston accident lawyer can help you pursue a claim.
South Carolina Kids at Risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest rates of drowning deaths. Approximately 30 percent of kids within this age group who died in 2009 lost their lives due to drowning. This means that drowning is the top cause of injury-related deaths and is the second-leading cause of overall fatalities after birth defects. Among children between the ages of 1 and 14, drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related fatalities following motor vehicle accidents.
In addition to fatalities, drowning is also a top cause of injury. For every child who dies as a result of drowning, an additional five young people must receive treatment in an emergency room for submersion injuries that could be fatal. These injuries can leave children with lasting brain damage that could necessitate a lifetime of costly medical care and that could change the life of a child and family forever.
Swimming pool owners have an obligation to try to prevent drowning injuries and deaths from occurring. Residential pool owners must comply with laws ensuring that their pool area is securely and safely fenced with a latching gate that children are not able to open. The CDC reports that the majority of young children drown in home swimming pools, but that a four-sided isolation fence could reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 83 percent.
If a pool owner fails to secure his pool or to latch the gate and a child gets hurt as a result, the property owner can be held legally liable in a personal injury or a wrongful death claim.
According to WISTV, the American Academy of Pediatrics also urges parents to start swimming lessons for children as early as age 1. When young children are able to get used to putting their face in the water and breathing while in the pool, this could help them survive for longer if they do fall into a swimming pool. This means even if they are not yet able to swim well enough to avoid drowning if they wander into a pool, it does at least provide more time for someone to notice and come to their rescue.
It is important for parents to understand their rights when a child experiences a drowning injury. Contact a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer for help if your child has been involved in a South Carolina swimming pool accident.