Pool Drowning Accidents: Who is Most at Risk?
Nothing beats the heat quite like a refreshing swim in a personal or public swimming pool. In fact, according to one survey in 2006, there were over 75,000 private residence swimming pools in Miami-Dade County alone and over 1 million in the state. Unfortunately, Florida has also historically had one of the highest rates of death by accidental drowning in the country, especially amongst children.
Florida Accident Drowning Statistics
For 2010 (the most recent statistics available from the Florida Department of Health), there were 7.29 accidental drownings per 100,000 people for children ages 1 through 4. According to the Florida Department of Health, the number of children under five that accidentally drown in Florida would fill three to four preschool classrooms.
Nationally, accidental drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. Between 2005 and 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings each year – about 10 deaths per day. One in five individuals who die by accidental drowning are children under the age of 15 years old.
Who Is Most Likely to Accidentally Drown?
Statistics show that the following individuals are more likely to accidentally drown than others:
- Males are more likely to drown than females. In fact, approximately 80% of those who die from drowning are male.
- Children have the highest drowning rates, especially children ages 1 to 4. Only birth defects account for more deaths among this children ages 1 to 4 years old. For children ages 1 to 4 years old, most drownings occur at private residential pools. Among children ages 1 to 14 years old, only motor vehicle crashes account for more unintentional deaths.
- African Americans have a higher fatal unintentional drowning rate than whites across all age groups.
In addition, the following factors increase the likelihood of a fatal unintentional drowning:
- Lack of swimming ability;
- Lack of barriers around a pool, such as fencing. The CDC reports that a four-sided isolation fence that completely surrounds a pool can reduce a child’s risk of a fatal unintentional drowning by over 80%;
- Lack of supervision over the pool area;
- Failure to wear life jackets; and
- Use of alcohol.
What To Do After a Near-Drowning or Fatal Drowning
An unintentional drowning or near-drowning is a traumatic experience. At the very least, a near-drowning can result in emergency treatment and substantial medical bills. A fatal drowning can result in funeral expenses, expenses incurred in attempting to save the deceased’s life, lost earnings, and loss of the deceased’s company. These costs are in addition to the emotional pain and turmoil caused by the event.
If you or a loved one suffered a pool-related injury or death, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC can help you begin to put your life back together. If the injury or death was the result of the pool owner’s carelessness – for instance, failing to put a barrier around the pool – compensation may be available. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.