Unnamed 6-year-old’s death was 2nd Harris County drowning death in as many days
On Sunday, and for the second time in as many days, a drowning accident took the life of a Harris County child. The most recent drowning happened sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. at what is described as a community pool located at the 24000 block of Ceremonial Lane in the King Crossing residential area in northern Katy.
According to investigators with the Harris County Sheriff’ Department, a lifeguard found the child face-down in the King Crossing swimming pool just before 4:00 Sunday afternoon. First responders arrived within minutes and took charge of the accident scene. Despite the best efforts of these responders, the child could not be stabilized at the scene and was transported to Texas Children’s’ Hospital’s West Campus. Sadly, the child did not survive and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
As mentioned above, another child had drowned at LaPorte’s Sylvan Beach Park the previous evening.
Shortly after 7:00 p.m. Saturday, EMS responded to the 100 block of South Bayshore Drive in LaPorte after receiving a 911 call reporting a drowning at Sylvan Beach Park. Upon arrival, EMS personnel were informed that the victim, later identified as 3-year-old Ziyonah Zeno, had been found underwater but that no one could say how long she had been submerged. EMS responders began advanced life support measures at the scene and continued their efforts during transport to Bayshore Hospital, where Ziyonah was pronounced dead a short time later.
Although the investigation into the tragic drowning accident at King Crossing is still in its earliest stages, the drowning accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm notes that there are several questions that will probably arise in the upcoming weeks.
- Who owns the King Crossing “community” swimming pool?
- Was there a lifeguard on duty when the drowning accident occurred?
- If there was the lifeguard present, was the lifeguard trained to American Red Cross standards?
Who owns the King Crossing “community” swimming pool?
As of this writing, there has been no mention of who actually “owns” the swimming pool at the King Crossing “Amenity Center.” However, given the observation that the subdivision is quite new, ownership probably lies with 1) a “homeowners’ association” or 2) the subdivision developer (Pulte Homes). The answer to this question is vital to determining who would be held liable in the event a wrongful death lawsuit is filed.
Regardless of who owned the pool, the legal doctrine of premises liability holds a property owner responsible for operating and/or maintaining a property in a condition that will minimize the possibility that a guest will suffer an injury. Furthermore, Texas courts have held that failure to provide professionally-qualified staffing (e.g. security patrols or lifeguards) could be seen as evidence of negligence by a property owner.
Was there a lifeguard on duty when the drowning accident occurred?
Regardless of how well-trained and experienced a lifeguard may be, the lifeguard must monitor the swimmers under his or her care from the poolside location that will allow a response within seconds of an emergency. Although the circumstances of Sunday’s drowning accident have yet to be released, there are three items that our drowning accident lawyer finds “concerning.”
First, news reports of the accident state that the victim was found completely submerged, in a face-down position, by a lifeguard but that the actual amount of time the child had been submerged was unknown. This would seem to suggest that the lifeguard was either 1) temporarily distracted or 2) not in a position that would have allowed him or her to have kept the entire pool under observation.
Secondly, data from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital states that the “average” height of a “typical” 6-year-old male of female ranges between 42” to 49”. This suggests that the victim probably drowned in a section of the pool where the water was at least 4 feet (48”) deep because a shallower depth would probably have allowed the victim to avoid drowning by using their legs to propel themselves from the pool bottom long enough for a few quick breaths of air or to cry out for assistance.
Finally, the online “consumer edition” of the respected medical reference the Merck Manual states that a child can lose consciousness after as little as one minute of struggling to avoid drowning. However, the fact that the victim was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a dedicated pediatric emergency room suggests that first responders were unable to establish cardiac activity that was sufficient to maintain both the victim’s pulse and blood pressure. This observation suggests that the victim was submerged and nor breathing for at least 3 minutes before being found on the pool’s bottom.
Was the lifeguard trained to American Red Cross standards?
There are many “levels” or “degrees” of training available to lifeguards. However, the most widely accepted and recognized is that offered by the American Red Cross.
In addition to requiring that each lifeguard it certifies actually knows how to swim, the Red Cross also trains each lifeguard in first aid, CPR, and in the use of automated emergency defibrillators (AEDs). Although Texas doesn’t have a law requiring the Red Cross training of lifeguards, an employer’s failure to require and confirm such training (or its equivalent) as a condition of employment could be seen as suggesting negligence.
Contacting a drowning accident lawyer
We realize that no amount of discussion or debate will reverse the outcome of Sunday’s tragic drowning accident. We also are aware that it is often weeks or months after a drowning accident before a family begins to suspect that they were not given a complete explanation of the circumstances surrounding their loss. In fact, our drowning accident lawyer has seen too many cases where the person or business implicated in a drowning accident has attempted to “downplay” (or even deliberately misrepresent) information that would prove their negligence was responsible for the death of a child.
If you have lost a family member to a drowning accident, we invite you to contact the drowning accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a national personal injury and drowning accident law practice based in Houston and having offices located in major cities throughout Texas and across the country.
When you contact our drowning accident lawyer, your case review and initial consultation are always free of charge and do not obligate you to hire our firm as your legal counsel. Once we have completed our initial investigation into your case, we will present our findings to you as well as our recommendations regarding the legal options that are available to you. Should you decide that a lawsuit is in order, and that you would like for our drowning accident lawyer to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your drowning accident case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.