Understanding Swimming Pool Accidents in Washington | Yakima Accidental Death Attorneys

During the hot summer months, there is almost no better way to cool off than to take a dip in a swimming pool.  But what can start off as a refreshing way to have fun on a hot day can quickly give way to a tragic event – even an accidental death.  Consider these statistics:

Keep your eyes on the water to prevent an accidental death this summer

  • More than 80% of drownings occur in residential pools or spas;
  • In more than half of drownings of children under the age of 15, a parent is within 25 yards;
  • Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 15;
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for non-fatal submersion injuries;
  • From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal accidental drownings (non-boating related) annually in the U.S.—almost 10 deaths per day;
  • Most children ages 1-4 drown in home swimming pools; and
  • 43% of drownings of those over the age of 15 occurred in swimming pools.

Key Information Regarding Swimming Pool Accidents in Washington

A significant factor that makes drowning prevention difficult is that when someone is drowning they often do not appear to be. We have all seen the movies which depict a drowning as a dramatic event with arms flailing in the air and multiple bobs above the water gasping for air. This is far from reality. Francesco A. Pia, who has studied drowning extensively and authored The Instinctive Drowning Response, described a drowning event like this:

“Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

A person who is drowning alternately sinks below and rises above the surface of the water, and are not above the surface of the water long enough to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning person is above the surface of the water, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements, nor can they wave for help, move toward a rescuer, or reach out for a piece of rescue equipment.  Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface, which permits them to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

From the beginning to the end of the Instinctive Drowning Response, people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water for 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

Be on the lookout for these other signs of distress when people are in the water:  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 yet body is vertical; hyperventilating or gasping; trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway; trying to roll over on the back; or appearing to be climbing an invisible ladder.

Hiring a Yakima Personal Injury Attorney

The lawyers and staff at Abeyta Nelson Injury Law wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer season. If you have any questions about an accidental death due to drowning, contact Abeyta Nelson Injury Law right away. There is never a charge to discuss your questions with us, and no fee unless we win your case. The sooner we are involved, the more help we can give you.

Call us at 509-588-0240 or send a message to start your consultation now.

Last : Do You Know the Rules of Biking in Washington? Next : If You’re Hurt Due to the Fault of a Family Member