Updated on May 23, 2019.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death for Colorado children age 14 and under. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three children die from drowning each day in the United States; and for every child that dies from drowning, five more “receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.”
Now that summer has arrived, we at the Tenge Law Firm LLC want to reiterate some safety measures that should help keep you and your family safe around bodies of water.
Water Safety Basics
- Supervision: Children should always be supervised by a capable adult when around any body of water, even one as small as a hot tub. When a gathering involves swimming, always have an adult who is a “designated watcher,” if you do not have a lifeguard on duty. This person should focus his undivided attention on the children in or around water. It’s a good idea for designated watchers to work in shifts of five to 10 minutes. Children under age 4 should have an adult in the water with them, and within arm’s length. Don’t rely on flotation devices like water wings or inner tubes to keep children safe.
- Teach children how to swim: Teaching children to swim at a young age is an obvious and effective way to prevent drowning throughout their lives. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children aged 4 and older can be taught to swim. However, even children who “know” how to swim should be supervised when in or around water.
- Learn CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation can save lives following a drowning accident, and is taught frequently by the American Red Cross at various locations in Colorado. Knowing how to perform CPR can be valuable in many situations, not just at pools.
- Avoid alcohol: One should never use drugs or alcohol while swimming, boating, or supervising children who are swimming.
Residential Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Safety
- Install fencing: Enclose the pool and hot tub with a fence that is at least four feet tall, is no more than four inches off the ground, and has vertical slats with gaps that are no more than four inches wide. (Just call it the rule of four.) The fence should not block the view of the pool from outside of the fenced area. The fence should have self-latching gates that open away from the pool. If you have an above-ground pool, remove ladders and steps to the pool when you’re not around.
- Have easy access to emergency equipment: Always have a phone in the pool area so you can call 9-1-1. Also keep life rings, rope, and reaching poles handy.
- Install alarms: If you have small children, install an alarm on any door or gate that leads to the pool area. There are also alarms that detect disturbances to the surface of the water, and will sound if a pet or child falls in the pool. But remember, alarms are no substitute for vigilant supervision.
- Install safe drains: Make sure all pool and hot tub drains comply with The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. Defective drains can cause deadly suction accidents.
Safety in Natural Bodies of Water
Ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans can have dangers that don’t occur in pools or hot tubs. Conditions like currents, waves, poor visibility, and underwater hazards can all lead to injury and drowning. The following tips will help keep you and your family safe.
- Feet first: You should avoid diving or jumping into a body of water you’re not familiar with. But if you can’t wade into the water, enter the water feet-first. This will prevent head and neck injuries from underwater hazards.
- Wear a life jacket: Adults and children should always be wearing life jackets while using watercraft of any kind, and while fishing near deep water.
- Swim only where allowed: At public beaches, only swim in the designated areas. Don’t swim in bodies of water with a posted “no swimming.” Quarries and gravel pits can be extremely dangerous if not designed for swimming. Also, avoid swimming alone.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a water-related accident that you feel was the result of the negligence of another party, our firm may be able to get you significant compensation for your losses. Call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, for a free case evaluation. We have three convenient locations:
Boulder (303) 665-2929
Fort Collins (970) 212-4777
Denver (303) 502-5587
Your consultation is free, and if so is our representation, if we feel you have a strong case. We will only take remuneration after we win a verdict or settle your claim successfully.