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Indiana Child Drowning Draws Interest and Concern about Safety of Ponds and Stormwater Retention Areas

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


On August 12 9-year-old boy, Trevor Howe, ran outside of his home chasing after his family’s Labrador retriever, Sweetpea. However, when Trevor’s parents discovered Sweetpea had returned to the home without Trevor, Trevor’s parents rushed to a nearby pond to look for their son. When they arrived at the pond medical personnel were already working on Trevor’s unconscious body. Trevor died four days later at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Trevor’s tragic death has sparked the city and county officials to focus their attention on pond safety, specifically stormwater pond improvements and pond design standards. Trevor’s father is petitioning the city to place a 4-foot high chain-link fence around the pond where Trevor drowned, which would replace the nylon mesh fence that serves mainly to keep pedestrians from interfering with the ponds vegetation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death in children ages 1 to 14. Although most drownings occur in swimming pools, the percentage of drownings in natural water settings increase with age.

The laws regarding the safety and standards of ponds and stormwater retention areas were last updated in 2005. Jenny Miller, the city’s engineer, stated that safety standard issues that are likely to be addressed are increasing warning signage. If you would like to read more on this story see Boy drowns in Indiana ponds, has city officials looking to update their pond and stormwater safety standards.

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