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Children are attracted to water and so are at a greater risk of being involved in a drowning or near-drowning incident. Because of this, the law recognizes additional duties that owners of pools, hot tubs, ponds, and other bodies of water must take to protect children. Private property owners as well as public entities that do not take these precautions can be responsible for the injuries and expenses that a child drowning or near-drowning accident can create.
A child drowning or near-drowning accident is a horribly traumatic time for the child’s family. By retaining the help of a knowledgeable and compassionate child drowning accident attorney, the legal rights of the child and family can be protected while the family members themselves rally around the child and support his or her recovery.
Children are in Danger Around Water
Any water that is of a sufficient depth to cover a child’s nose and mouth is capable of drowning a child. Children have drowned in pools, hot tubs, ponds, lakes, bathtubs, and even in buckets that have a small amount of water in the bottom. It does not take long for a child to drown:
- Most child drownings and near-drownings occur to children ages 1 year old to 3 years old;
- A few seconds is all that it takes for a child to approach and enter a body of water and slip under the surface;
- About a minute is all the time that is necessary for the child to lose consciousness if he or she is under water;
- After four or five minutes – about the length of an average telephone call – a child can suffer irreparable brain injuries.
What is even more shocking is that most child drowning and near-drowning accidents occur while the child has a caretaker or parent nearby who is supposed to be watching him or her.
Child Safety Around Water
There are a number of steps parents and property owners can take in order to help protect children around water. Property owners who have water on their property and who do not take adequate safeguards may be legally responsible for compensating a child and his or her family if that child is injured in a drowning or near-drowning accident on his or her property.
- Always keep an eye on your young children when they are around water, especially in bathtubs, pools, and on beaches. If you must go somewhere else – even if only for a minute – have someone else watch your child or take your child with you.
- Teach your child about safety around water as soon as possible. Teach him or her not to go into pools or other bodies of water without having a parent or relative in the water with him or her.
- When your child is able to do so, consider swimming lessons to help your child learn water survival skills.
For Property Owners
Install and maintain adequate fencing around pools, ponds, and lakes on your property. The fencing needs to be of a sufficient construction so that children are not able to unlock any fencing or crawl over or under the fencing.
- Install warning signs near the water to help alert parents of children to the presence of the water and the danger it poses to them and their children.
- Do not allow anyone to use your pool, pond, or lake without your knowledge and permission. You can be held liable for compensation even if you did not give permission to a child to use your pool or water, but communicating to neighborhood parents that you want to be notified if their children want to use your pool can be a reasonable step to take to help reduce the chance of a child drowning or near-drowning accident.
If your child was injured in a drowning or near-drowning, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation. Contact Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to learn more.