By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Drowning is a problem that continues to be a tragedy in many communities during the summer, spring, and other times of the year. Some drownings are unpredictable and unpreventable even with good supervision. For instance, if a person has a seizure or heart problems out of the blue and then drowns, this may not be preventable especially with no prior history of seizures or heart problems. However, most other drowning incidents are preventable with proper safety precautions, supervision, and training in place. This is especially important when there are children in or near a swimming pool around some other aquatic activity. Tragically, drowning is the leading cause of death for hildren between the ages of 1 through 4 years of age. See Drowning Leading Cause of Death in Children Ages 1 – 4.
Many child safety experts recommend that proper supervision involves an adult within arm’s reach of so of the children.
Proper supervision is having an adult in the pool and swimming area. Further, the responsible adult(s) should be paying close attention to the pool or swimming area without the distraction of a mobile phone or other distractions. Let’s explore two situations:
1. First Scenario. Supervising adult is seated in a chair and has his head buried into a thick book. The adult keeps his eyes glued to the book and does not pay much attention to the children in and around the pool.
2. Second Scenario. Supervising adult is seated in a chair and has his head repeatedly buried in his mobile phone reading and typing e-mails and texts. He is also surfing the net and not the waters on his mobile phone.
Both of the above scenarios are equally frightening. Under either scenario, the supervision is less than stellar and puts the children in and around the pool or swimming area at risk.
Over the past few years, the advancement of mobile phones and most notably iPhones and Android phones and tablets have led to a new type of supervision in place. One may refer to this as “being there in body but not in mind”. This is a deficient form of supervision if it can be called supervision at all. People have their eyes glued to their mobile phones and tablets, to the text messages to their web searches, and to their emails to videos and photos rather than the real-life activities and dangers associated with swimming pools and other aquatic activities.
Mobile phones are wonderful tools. Time has also proven that mobile phones are also major distractions in our lives especially when people are driving, working, and other activities. There have been laws put in place the limiting and even banning the use of mobile phones while driving. While it is not practical to legistate all limitations and safety measures that should be taken when owning a mobile phone, it is important for all people to develop habits that limit the use of mobile phones while engaged in other activities that require our due attention which includes but is not limited to the supervision of children.
It would be helpful to have legislation in place for child care providers, camp counselors, lifeguards, and other adults responsible for the supervision of the other children during water related activities. In just a moment of time, a child could too easly go missing in the water and drown. During this crucial moment in time, it is important that the parent child care provider and more adult supervisor is paying close attention so that immediate action can be taken. It is far more important to watch children with due diligence tnat watch that next You Tube video, text a message to a friend, and / or posts to Facebook.
The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – written by Child Injury Lawyer David Wolf has chapters on Swimming Pool and Water Park Injuries and Incidents, Day Care Center Injuries, Automobile Accidents, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.