Now that the weather is warming up, more and more people will be flocking
to the water to cool off during the hot summer days. At the same time,
hospitals around the country will see an increase in swimming-related
accidents. More alarmingly, there will also be unintentional drowning,
which is the 5th leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2005 to
2014, there were more than 3,000 unintentional drownings, and around 1
in 5 people were children 14 years of age and younger.
Children are, of course, some of the most vulnerable to swimming accidents.
If someone leaves a gate open near a pool, a curious toddler might venture
out into the yard and accidentally fall into the water. Kids are also
not particularly strong swimmers, especially the younger they are. Once
they fall in, if no adult is there to take them out quickly enough, they
could sustain permanent brain damage or even death from lack of oxygen.
Likewise, children are also small enough to be injured by uncovered pool
drain suction. There have been several incidences of children sitting
over a pool drain and being disemboweled or eviscerated by the suction.
One case happened as recently as 2007 when a girl named Abigail Taylor
suffered a dislodged and damaged liver and pancreas; additionally, several
meters of her small intestine were forcefully pulled out of her body,
which later led to her death.
Adults, however, are also susceptible to swimming accidents. Both adults
and children alike are discouraged from running around a pool area, which
is often slick with water. Those running can easily slip and fall on the
slippery surface. Such slip-and-fall accidents could lead to nothing more
than a bruised ego, but for unlucky individuals, the landing could result
in a concussion, severe brain injury, spinal damage, sprains, or breaks.
Another potential swimming accident relates to diving. Just as many public
pools have notifications restricting people from running around the pool,
they also have signs telling people not to dive into the water. This last
sign is mostly to prevent people from accidentally diving into water that
is too shallow or from landing incorrectly in the water. Diving poorly
can easily cause people concussions or even severe spinal cord damage
if their heads and neck strike the bottom of the pool too hard. For example,
just a year ago a 16-year-old dived headfirst out of a boat and into the
water in Florida. After he didn’t resurface, he was rescued from
the water by his uncle, after which he was airlifted to a hospital. The
doctors discovered he had injured his spinal cord at the C6 level and
performed surgery, hoping his cells would grow back again. After the accident,
he could no longer walk.
For both adults and children, it’s vital to ensure you know the area
in which you’re swimming. Various water sources are known to harbor
rip currents or rip tides, a kind of current which can occur near beaches
with breaking waves. It is a strong, localized, and narrow current of
water which moves directly away from the shore. Swimmers who are caught
in a rip and who either don’t understand what is going on or who
don’t have the swimming skills to stay afloat, may panic or exhaust
themselves by trying to swim directly against the flow of water. They
also cause an average of 46 deaths by drowning a year. If you’re
going out into the water, make sure the river, ocean, or lake you are
swimming in doesn’t have a reputation for rip currents.
For adults specifically, alcohol is another contributing factor in swimming
accidents, particularly for those inebriated and swimming in the sea.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which makes people prone to making poor decisions.
If those poor decisions are made in dangerous waters, the results could
be deadly. Alcohol also affects balance, coordination, and one’s
sense of direction. If people dive into the water, for example, they may
not be able to tell up from down, particularly at night. This could easily
cause someone to panic and accidentally inhale water.
Make sure to stay safe this summer. However, if you or a loved one are
injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, make sure you
don’t pay the price for their mistake. Medical bills can be extremely
expensive, so if they are caused by someone else, you shouldn’t
have to pay for it. Our
skilled Greenwich personal injury attorneys can provide top-notch advocates who are always well-prepared. Let us see
what we can do for you and your case.
Contact us at (203) 718-4002 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case