Summer Swim Time Means A Rise in Accidental Drownings Across Arkansas

In 2015, the Governor of Arkansas declared that the State of Arkansas would be joining with the Drowning Prevention Foundation to promote pool safety and to help prevent drowning accidents in communities all across Arkansas. The Governor declared that the month of May would be devoted to drowning prevention. Sadly, this was not just an act of goodwill be the governor. According to the proclamation he released, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of five years old, and near drowning accidents can result in lifelong disabilities. This blog post presents some statistics on drownings and how you can prevent them this summer accidents.  

Arkansas Drowning Statistics

The Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Program located at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital made some horrifying discoveries when it comes to children and drownings. In their report, they found that Arkansas ranks 7th in the U.S. for drowning-related deaths among children under 17, and the state’s drowning rate is 60 percent higher than the national average. According to the Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the state ranks seventh in the United States for drowning-related deaths among children younger than 17, a figure that is 60 percent higher than the national average. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between the years of 2005 and 2014 there were on average 3,536 reported unintentional drownings, which equals approximately ten deaths per day.  In addition, males were found to be the victims of approximately 80 percent of drownings. Certain minority groups also have a much higher risk of drowning than others and the CDC reports that the fatal drowning rate of African-American children between the ages of 5 and 14 are nearly three times greater than white children in the same age range. If you or a loved one has been affected by this horrible tragedy, it is important to contact an experienced Arkansas drowning accident lawyer immediately.

Risk Factors and Tips to Stay Safe around Pools this Summer

When you are around pools there are certain risk factors that can lead to an accidental drowning, and by identifying those factors you can better prepare yourself and your loved ones for some summer time fun.

While every accident is its own product of a unique combination of certain factors and circumstances, the likelihood of additional accidents may be reduced by awareness of the following risk factors:

  • Swimming ability – Watching the Olympics can make you feel like you can dive into the deep end and swim as effortlessly as the athletes on television do. However, not everyone is an Olympic level swimmer, and even they had to learn the basics of swimming. Swimming is not a natural ability, and children should not be left alone if they do not know how to swim. However, even a child who knows how to swim can still find themselves in a situation where they are not comfortable, and this can lead to drownings.
  • Swimming alone – people who swim alone also face an increased drowning risk because they may be unable to reach or call for help should something go wrong. If the person has a seizure disorder or another condition that can cause a loss of consciousness this risk is even more pronounced. Swimmers should always use the buddy system and, ideally, always be supervised by an adult who can also swim.
  • No fence or pool barrier – Arkansas law imposes regulations and requirements on public pools throughout the state. Specifically, under these rules, public pools are required to have fences that are at least four feet tall, and public pools are required to employ A minimum of one lifeguard shall be provided for each 2000 square feet of water surface. One additional lifeguard shall be provided for each additional 2000 square feet of water surface, or fraction thereof equal to or greater than 1000 square feet.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol is a common but often overlooked reason for drownings, however, the use of alcohol is associated with nearly 70 percent of all deaths due to aquatic recreational activities and about 25 percent of drownings. Drinking alcohol impairs balance, judgment, and hinders a person’s ability to react.

Drownings can happen for many reasons and unlike the movies and television shows don’t always come with exaggerated yelling and waving of arms. Below are some tips to stay safe and enjoy the pool this summer.

  • Stay Alert – parents should always pay close attention to their children when they are swimming in a public pool. While Arkansas requires that there be a certain amount of lifeguards for the amount of people that are in the pool, lifeguards are not always able to devote the attention to your child that they deserve.
  • Use approved flotation devices – If your child does not know how to swim or is not a strong swimmer, you should utilize approved life saving and flotation devices. This is particularly important if your child will be around open bodies of water.
  • Learn to recognize a child or adult in danger of drowning – learning to recognize the signs that a swimmer is having trouble is one of the most important skills you can have to prevent accidental drownings. Some of the common signs that a swimmer is distressed include:
    • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
    • Head tilted back with mouth open
    • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
    • Eyes closed
    • Hair over forehead or eyes
    • Not using legs
    • Hyperventilating or gasping
    • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
    • Trying to roll over on the back
    • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Summer time is about letting kids have a little fun, however, that does not mean that you should not be on your guard. By learning the risks and employing some tips you can keep your family safe and happy this summer.

Pool Injury or Death in Arkansas?

No matter how safe you are accidents happen, however, when there is an accidental drowning or serious personal injury it is usually due to negligence or recklessness at a public or private pool, Arkansas accidental drowning attorney Ken Kieklak may be able to fight for you. For more than 20 years Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak has fought on behalf of injured Arkansans. To schedule a free, confidential personal injury or wrongful death consultation, call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.