By: Karen P. Nadeau, Esquire
We are still in July and there have been at least 9 Massachusetts drownings this summer. There were drownings at Worcester’s Bell Pond, Millbury’s Dorothy Pond, Whiting’s Pond in North Attleboro, a pool in Lynn, Mayflower Beach on the Cape, Buckmaster Pond in Westwood, Breakheart reservation in Saugus and two drownings in the Chicopee River.
Summer heat means spending time at beaches, pools and lakes to cool off and enjoy the water. But there are dangers associated with water. I have this memory of a newspaper article fifteen plus years ago that my dad meticulously cut out for me about a child drowning in a bucket of water and how it only took a very small amount of water for a child to drown. My dad had an agenda. We grew up with an inground pool. My brother, sister and I learned to swim at an early age before the pool was installed. But now I had my first-born toddler who could not swim, and my dad was obsessed with him and the pool and what could happen. The article left on the kitchen table while he was at work was to shock me and scare me to be vigilant around the pool with his first grandson.
I did my own investigation about the possibility of drowning in a bucket of water and learned that this happens to many children every year according to the CDC. Children can fall head first into the bucket and not get out. So now imagine children near gigantic buckets of water- our lakes and ponds, and oceans and pools. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention Statistics, more than 3700 Americans drowned in 2017 and about 700 were under the age of 14. Ten people a day drown in the US according to the CDC. For every 1 drowning, 5 are rescued.
According to Massachusetts Government Injury and Prevention related to water safety, drowning is swift and silent. It often happens quietly with no frantic calls for help, no splashing or waves for assistance. Young children are at risk because they can slip away quickly and go in the water without understanding the danger. But drowning is preventable.
https://www.mass.gov/ provides tips for all ages to stay safe in and around water. They recommend knowing how to swim. If you can’t swim, keep to shallow areas or use a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. Swimming lessons are a great idea for young and old.
Some of the other tips include:
*swim with a buddy and never alone, even if you are a very good swimmer
*swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present
*do not dive or jump in water that is not at least 12 feet deep.
*do not swim during a storm
*don’t swim in an area with strong moving currents
*know where you are and keep a cell phone handy
*wear a life jacket in a boat that is US Coast Guard approved
As a parent or caretaker responsible for children’s safety, keep a close watch and remain attentive with children around water. As a homeowner, be sure to have safe practices near and around the pool. By using these tips when around water, these tragic drownings can stop happening.
The lawyers at Nadeau Harkavy LLC help victims and their families recover damages for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from tragic accidents. If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to an accident, wrongful death or other accident, feel free to contact us for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.