Now that we’re past the Memorial Day Weekend, we join those who call this time the ‘Unofficial Start of Summer.’

That means warmer weather and outdoor activities, especially in or on the water – a fun, wonderful and refreshing part of summer.

This also reminds family of attorneys at Tauber Law Offices that it’s also time to talk about water safety.  In fact, the Month of May was National Water Safety Month – an annual event designed to create early awareness about the dangers inherent in spending time on the water, especially for children who sometimes are just totally innocent of any potential problems that can occur.

Photo courtesy American Red Cross

The most critical thing to remember is active adult supervision, along with ensuring that everyone learns about water safety and how to swim.  It seems like common sense, yet there are too many tragedies every year.  Already this year, there have been several children who have lost their lives across our own region here in Indiana.

The statistics are startling, especially when you consider so many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented.

  • There are over 7,000 drowning deaths nationally each year.
  • Drowning accidents are the leading cause of death and injury of children under 5 years of age.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death among children under the age of 15.
  • More than 80% of the drownings occur in residential pools or spas.
  • Each year 5,000 children under the age of 14 are for near drowning events. Of these, as many as of 20% suffer severe and permanent disabilities.

Here are a set of water safety tips, courtesy of the Red Cross:

  • Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Take swimming lessons. There are even programs for infants.
  • Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules.
  • Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.
  • Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.
  • Reach or throw, don’t go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
  • Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four- fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.

If you have a pool, or manage a public pool, heed this last item.  Check your local zoning regulations.  The requirements vary, but most do require fencing and gates.  Know that even if you are in compliance, you could still be held liable for an injury or death if there is not proper supervision.

Your friends at Tauber Law want nothing more than for you and the family to have a safe and happy summer.   If, by chance, there is an accident that can be traced to negligence, please come and see us for a free consultation.

Sources: The American Red Cross, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention