Summertime is the favorite time of year for many people throughout Illinois. This warm weather calls for leaving home and enjoying the great outdoors, whether on vacation or in the comfort of your own city. As you know, Illinois offers many outdoor activities for people of all ages to enjoy during the summer, from street festivals, to our beaches, outdoor dining, and sports leagues. With the hot weather, many people enjoy cooling off and heading to local pools. However, lack of safety, maintenance, and oversight in these facilities can easily change an enjoyable summer day into a family tragedy with a swimming pool accident.
A three-year old boy recently died after falling into an above-ground pool, according to news from The State Journal-Register. The child is one of eight Illinois children who drowned in the months of May and June alone. This number has startled local organizations and parents to address the need for safety. American Red Cross, the Illinois Associations of Park Districts, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services all recently met with their concerns and discussed with parents and caregivers the need to watch over their children near water. DCFS commented on how eight deaths in only two months is high and alarming because there have been years where 17 children drowned for an entire year, and here eight have drowned in only two months.
Our lawyers remind readers that it only takes mere seconds for a child to drown. Caregivers should always maintain vigilance over the children in their care and not incorrectly assume that someone else is watching the kids at play. It takes only a moment when an adult turns their back or becomes distracted that harm can come a child’s way. In addition to constant supervision, parents and caregivers can also help their children help protect themselves through swimming lessons and providing proper flotation devices.
Drowning is an unfortunately prevalent problem throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning ranks fifth among leading causes of unintentional death in the United States. From the years 2005 – 2009, there were an average of 3,533 deaths per year from unintentional drownings. This is about ten deaths per day. About one in five people who die from drowning are children under the age of 14. Those between the ages of one to four years old have the highest rates for drowning.
Also according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several main factors that affect one’s risk of drowning. These factors include lack of swimming ability, lack of supervision, lack of barriers to prevent access to water, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizures. If a child learns to swim, research has shown that this skill can reduce the risk of drowning among children ages one to four. Furthermore, in private home pools, barriers are important because they prevent children from entering a pool without the guardian’s awareness or permission. In fact, an isolation fence that separates the pool from the house and yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83%.
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury or wrongful death in a swimming pool accident as a result of a facility lacking the proper markings, safety equipment or supervision, you may be able to hold the landowner or pool operator liable through a lawsuit. For instance, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit if the water park operator did not follow safety regulations or properly maintain the pool. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about drowning lawsuits and many other areas of personal injury. Call our firm for a free consultation, and we would be happy to discuss your potential case with you.