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Beware of Swimming Accidents This Summer

Posted on in Personal Injury

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 to2014, there were more than 3,000 unintentional drownings, and around 1in 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 couldbe deadly. Alcohol also affects balance, coordination, and one’s sense of direction. If people dive into the water, for example, they maynot 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 203-661-6000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.

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