What Texas Parents Need to Know About Drowning Incidents
It is no secret that temperatures can soar above 100 degrees throughout Texas summers. Many families with young children cool down by going for a swim at a pool, beach, or one of the many lakes in Texas. However, drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths among children ages 1 to 4 in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, in 2022 there were 76 reported cases of child drownings in our state, so it’s crucial that parents, daycare providers, and summer camp workers alike take preventative measures to protect little ones.
As we approach the summer months, our Texas child injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm are working to raise awareness of drowning risks and the proactive steps parents and childcare providers can take to keep children of all ages safe in bodies of water—big and small.
Common Places Where Kids Can Drown in Texas
Drowning can happen in any body of water, even in a backyard kiddie pool, so it is important to be aware of the risks associated with each spot.
Pools in public places that have many people coming and going can make it easy for a parent to lose sight of a child in the crowd, leading to a drowning incident. In addition, public pools are often without a lifeguard actively supervising swimmers young and old. You may even recall seeing a sign along the lines of “Swim at Your Own Risk.” That is why it is especially critical to ensure that a designated adult—parent or daycare provider—is watching within arm’s reach of younger children in the water. Examples of public pools include:
- Hotel pools and hot tubs
- Apartment pools
- Community center or YMCA pools
- Gym or fitness club pools
Kids are also at risk of drowning at summer camp. Camps across Texas often have lakes, rivers, or pools on-site for swimming and other water sports. If your child will be attending summer camp, it’s important to ensure that camp counselors and staff members are adequately trained in water safety and that they enforce strict rules when young campers are in or around the water.
Boat rides on Texas’ numerous bodies of water such as Lake Travis, Lake Conroe, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Lake Lewisville, or even in the Gulf of Mexico, can be a fun summer activity. However, the unpredictable currents and waves can lead to drowning incidents, even among the strongest of swimmers.
Drowning incidents can also happen at private pools such as a swimming pool at a daycare, country club, or a friend or family member’s house. Oftentimes, people have a sense of false security at a private pool, and may leave children unsupervised, thus, putting them at the highest risk for drowning. In addition to swimming incidents, unattended children who do not know how to swim or are not strong swimmers can easily fall into a private pool that doesn’t have a fence, pool cover, or other safety barrier.
How Can Parents, Daycares, and Summer Camps in Texas Prevent Child Drowning Incidents?
The difference between a drowning incident and a child’s wrongful death caused by drowning can be a matter of seconds. The keys to preventing children from drowning are proper supervision and safety measures. Here are some easy ways that parents, daycare workers, summer camp counselors, and other responsible adults can prevent these dangerous incidents:
- Supervision is key for preventing drowning incidents. A responsible adult such as a parent, daycare worker, or camp counselor should always closely watch young children who are swimming or playing in or around water. Depending on a child’s age and skill level, it is important that the person watching the child remains within an arm’s reach or at least within six feet of a child so they can react quickly in an emergency.
- Life jackets are required under Texas law for children on boats, but they should also be worn out in open bodies of water, including along the shore of a lake or Gulf of Mexico. It is important that life jackets fit properly and snugly.
- Pool fences or covers should serve as a barrier between young children and a pool at a home or daycare center. Another tip: Remove all toys from the pool area after swimming so that children are not tempted to go back in the water unsupervised.
- Enroll your child in swimming lessons to strengthen their swimming skills. Little ones can attend infant swimming rescue (ISR) classes to learn what to do, keeping them safe if they fall in a pool.
- Safety training such as CPR and basic water rescue skills completed by a parent or adult who oversees children in the water could save a child’s life in the event of an emergency in a swimming pool or lake.
What Damages Can I Collect from a Drowning Incident Involving My Child?
Drowning incidents can cause severe injuries to the body, especially to children. One of the most significant consequences of drowning is brain damage, which happens when the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time. This can lead to long-term disabilities like memory loss or the development of a learning disability.
A lack of oxygen under water can also cause a child’s heart to stop beating, and the lungs to fill with water. These dangerous scenarios can lead to organ failure.
A child falling into the cold waters of a lake, ocean, or unheated swimming pool can lead to hypothermia, the dropping of the body’s temperature. This can cause a drowning child to become confused and disoriented, and potentially result in death.
If your child was hurt in a drowning incident at a swimming pool or lake in Texas, you have two years to file a lawsuit to seek compensation, known as damages, to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages from missing work while helping your child seek medical treatment and recover, and more.
As we shared at the beginning of this article, drowning is among the leading causes of accidental death for children. In the tragic event that your child passes away because of a drowning incident, your family may be eligible for compensation to cover:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages from missing work to grieve the loss of your child
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages if the daycare’s gross negligence caused your child’s death
- The emotional toll of losing a loved one, especially a child
- Unexpected expenses
It is important to speak with experienced child injury attorneys, like our team at The Button Law Firm, who will listen and advocate for the best path forward for you and your family.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Child Injury Lawyers If Your Child Is Hurt in a Drowning Incident
Our team of experienced and compassionate child injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child is seriously hurt in a drowning incident while in the care of a Texas daycare facility, summer camp, fitness center, or even at a friend’s home. With attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.