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Drowning the Leading Unintentional Cause of Death in Children Under Five

Recently, a father took his four-year-old twin boys to join him in a visit with their grandmother. After arriving, the father went to check on his mother, who suffers from diabetes. When the father went to check on his children he found them both floating unconscious in the pool. Both boys were pronounced dead after reaching a local hospital.

Unfortunately, this tragic story is not uncommon. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), drowning remains the leading cause of unintentional death in children under the age of five. The CPSC also states that over half of these accidents occur during the summer months and most involve swimming pool accidents.

Avoiding Injuries Around Pools

With a few simple steps, these accidents can be avoided. The following are measures recommended by the CPSC that can dramatically reduce the risk of injury around pools:

  • Install walls or fences that stand at least four feet high around pool areas
  • Use pool and gate alarms to notify owners if child enters pool area
  • Use motor-powered safety cover when pool is not in use
  • If a child is missing, always check the pool first

Children can lose consciousness within two minutes when underwater and serious, irreversible brain injury can occur within four. As a result, it is extremely important for property owners with pools to implement as many of these suggestions as possible. If proper safety measures are not taken, the owner is likely liable for any injuries that result.

Taking the above steps and always carefully watching children near a pool can not only greatly reduce these risks, but also help ensure an enjoyable experience when playing near water.

Source: The Legal Examiner, "Tragic Death of Texas Twins Refocuses Attention on Swimming Pool Safety," Mark Bello, June 28, 2012

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