CDC: California, National Child Drowning Deaths Show Significant Decrease
As we have mentioned in several other blog posts, this year has been unusually deadly in terms of drowning accidents involving both adults and children. We were therefore surprised to learn that a recently-published study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of childhood drowning deaths in both the State of California and the nation per 100,000 children has fallen dramatically when compared to the “baseline” period of 1980 to 1982.
The CDC reported that the number of child drowning deaths in California has decreased dramatically, from 3.7 child drowning accidents per 100,000 children in the period from 1980 – 1982 to 0.8 per 100,000 children in the years 2015 -2017. In comparison, the national drowning rate for children under 14 years of age was 2.9 per 100,000 in 1980 – 1982 and 1.1 per 100,000 children in 2017 to 2019.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the dramatic decrease in the number of drowning deaths can be credited to changes in local and state building codes that mandate more safety measures in both new and remodeled swimming pools and an increase in public awareness of water safety issues.
Tighter new pool and pool renovation construction laws
Following California’s lead, all states now have at least some laws enacted for the purpose of increasing the safety of both private (home) and public swimming pools While these laws vary from state to state, with some being “strict” in their requirements and others being closer to “suggestions” rather than laws, there is little doubt that these laws have saved hundreds if not thousands of lives since their enactments.
Increased public awareness of water safety concerns
Thanks to aggressive outreach and community education programs in water safety and drowning prevention, many parents are now insisting that their local communities adopt measures that will reduce the possibility that a child could be injured by a drowning accident. In addition to requiring that all new residential and renovation construction projects involving swimming pools meet nationally recommended safety standards, many states and local governments have enacted laws and regulations to further enhance water safety such as:
- Minimum training requirements for lifeguards
- Requiring personal flotation devices (e.g. life preservers) for all boaters under a certain age
- Closing, or restricting access to, known areas posing a high risk of drowning
Current issues in drowning accident prevention
Although much progress has been made in preventing drowning accidents, we recognize that there is much that remains to be accomplished. There are, unfortunately, many contractors who are still willing to “take shortcuts” or to “look the other way” when it involves water safety issues. Additionally, many local governments are faced with the dilemma of paying for the operation and maintenance of public recreation facilities while tax revenue is decreasing. In either situation, safety issues can suffer and expose both government and private business to significant liability should a drowning accident occur.
Contacting a drowning and aquatic accident injury lawyer
Although the number of drowning accident deaths in California and in the United States are decreasing, there are still too many preventable drowning deaths. Many recently reported cases of child drowning and near-drowning accidents have occurred when the victim fell into an unsecured and/or unmonitored outdoor swimming pool. In such accidents, the pool’s owner’s negligence may have been a significant factor in such accidents and the owner could be found liable for any injuries and other losses.
If a member of your family has been injured in a drowning accident, whether in a private swimming pool or at a public recreation facility, we invite you to contact the drowning and aquatic accident injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a national personal injury law practice with offices located throughout the country.
When you contact The Doan Law Firm, your case review and first consultation with our drowning and aquatic accident injury lawyer is always free and does not obligate you hiring us to act as your legal counsel. Should you decide to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries or other losses, and that you would like to have us represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.