Now that summer is approaching, many of us and our children will spend quality time in the water. Whether it is swimming pools, lakes or the ocean, we all love swimming and playing in the water. In order to be safe it is important to swim with someone or with someone watching. Cramps, passing out, panic, and unknown medical conditions can all cause the drowning of otherwise healthy swimmers. The Red Cross provides good safety advice.
Most people are surprised when they learn that very frequently someone drowns without a lot of noise and splashing. Splashing is actually what someone does when they are staying afloat. What actually often happens is the drowning person panics and tries to conserve air while going under the water without a struggle or a sound. This is why it is critical to keep an eye on whomever is in the water.
Drownings often occur with many people around as a result of a lack of attention. Most lifeguards are dedicated and attentive but even the best lifeguard can become distracted. This is especially the case with teenage lifeguards if their supervisors have not trained them well and do not supervise them properly. Many a child has drowned because parents assume the lifeguard is paying attention.
Just in the past couple years our firm has represented the families of two drowning victims. Both drowned with people around. One drowned at a hotel pool with a lifeguard on duty and one drowned in a public lake. Obviously, no one saw or heard anything until it was too late. In the lake drowning the victim could not swim and there was a sudden, unmarked drop-off in the "shallow" area and he just slipped under. In the case of the pool there was host of problems to be on the lookout for. The water was dirty and too hot; the air was too hot; the lifeguard was poorly trained and poorly supervised; and, most importantly, was distracted by other swimmers and pool deck duties.