Water is a source of entertainment and leisure for countless people around the world. We all love to spend a day at the pool or the beach swimming, sailing or playing games. There are few things better than playing in the surf and sand with your child. You surely remember from your childhood, long summer days by the pool with family and friends, warm nights and cool waves.
Sadly, a drowning accident can quickly turn a perfect day enjoying the water with your family, into a tragedy. People forget that water in the pool, lake, the ocean or bathtub, can be dangerous to anyone but especially a child. People regularly fail to make water safety a priority.
A chapter of The National Drowning Prevention Association (NDPA) reports that drowning is the number one cause of accidental injury or death in children between the ages of 1 and 4. Drowning accidents are the second leading cause of death in children between 1 and 14. Most drowning accidents take place in residential pools. Most children under age one who drown, do so in the bathtub, toilet, sink or bucket of water containing less than 2 inches of water. For every child who drowns, five others are hospitalized and up to three of those suffer permanent brain damage. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) report from 2012, placed Alabama 10th on the list of states with the most pool and spa drowning for children under 15.
The National Institutes of Health explains “near drowning means a person almost died from not being able to breathe (suffocating) under water.” A near drowning can cause a lifetime of problems due to do brain damage that occurs when oxygen does not reach the brain. Your child can suffer significant brain damage including memory impairment and seizures. In some cases, your child may end up on life support or in an indefinite vegetative state.
Who is responsible for your child’s death or injury when your child drowns or nearly drowns? It is important to find out because there may be someone legally obligated to compensate you for your child’s injury. The costs associated with caring for a disabled or brain damaged child are enormous. The emotional toll on the family from dealing with the death or injury of a child from a drowning or pool accident is also tremendous. If a party is responsible for injuring your child, you should hold them accountable and get what you are legally entitledto. Enlisting the help of child drowning attorneys with experience handling drowning cases, like the ones at Farris, Riley & Pitt, is a good way to get started. We can help you determine if someone’s negligence caused or contributed to your child’s injury.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that two factors strongly contribute to drowning; lack of proper barriers to water and lack of supervision of those in and near the water. Drowning accidents can take place in a variety of places:
- A Bathtub
- The ocean
- Your house or pool
- A neighbor’s house or pool
- A Hotel
- The water park
- The hot tub
In every water situation, there are basic safety standards that must exist. The requirements that apply are different in each situation, and the laws that govern are different in each state.
The rules governing pools in Alabama can be confusing and are not uniform statewide. Specific Alabama counties have individual codes governing the construction, maintenance and safety of public pools and spas. They also have independent regulations regarding safety signage. County rules also vary about the fencing requirements for backyard pools. If a drowning accident injures your child, you will need to contact your county or municipality to find out what the rules even are, before you can determine if someone was negligent. Farris, Riley & Pitt can help you do that while you tend to your child and their injury.
Basic questions to ask:
- Are homeowners required to have a fence around the pool? What size?
- Was a lifeguard supposed to be on duty?
- Was there a sign posted?
- Was the pool inspected?
It is difficult to navigate the rules and regulations that must be analyzed to determine if negligence contributed to your child’s injury. Farris, Riley & Pitt are familiar with Alabama drowning and water safety and negligence laws. We can help you figure out if someone is legally obligated to pay damages for injuring your child.
Negligence and Child Drowning Accidents
Negligence causes child drowning accidents in Alabama and elsewhere. There are dozens of ways that negligence may contribute to a child drowning or nearly drowning and the consequences. In these instances, brain damage or death may have been preventable if someone took appropriate safety measures.
You may find:
- Negligence of the owner of a swimming pool or the property the pool sits on
- Manufacturing or design defects in the pool or hot tub
- Defective installation of a fence or gate
- Defective locks on the gate or fence
- Negligence due to inadequate fencing – too little or too short
- Negligence of the manufacturer of a pool safety fence
- Negligent supervision by a swimming teacher, a lifeguard or a property owner
- Improperly trained lifeguards
- Complete lack of lifeguard
- Inadequate supervision by lifeguards at a public beach or pool
- Improper operating procedures
- Improper or defective safety equipment
- Diving board mishaps
- Failure to cover pools and spas; defective, inadequate or improperly installed cover
- Inadequate warning signs that indicate the depth or other safety information
- Failure to cover drains
- Defective drains
- Improper installation of pool, slides, diving boards, stairs
- Lack of life preservers or safety equipment
- Improper lighting
- Overuse of chemicals
Pool owners are required to use a certain degree of care to ensure that swimmers are safe. People depend on lifeguards and their employers at a pool, water park or beach to be properly trained to help if someone gets caught in a riptide or a wave pool. Laws require that fences be installed for a reason, and warning signs serve an important purpose. Your child is exposed to risk every time someone fails to live up to his or her safety obligations.
If your child is injured because of a drowning accident in Alabama or a near drowning accident, contact the child drowning injury attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt to speak with someone about your case.