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Tragedy In The Water – Avoidable Drownings

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Recent Texas Drownings

Tragically, in this month alone, four young lives were lost in three separate Texas drowning incidents. In one incident, as reported by ABC13.com, a 1½-year-old boy wandered away from his Aldine home and drowned in a backyard pool. Another heartbreaking drowning event, recounted by The Houston Chronicle, occurred in a Houston-area apartment where an 11-month-old boy drowned in a bathtub. An Austin-area brother and sister, aged four and six respectively, drowned in a lake after “playing” to see who could hold their breath longest underwater.   These four sad losses stress the importance of vigilance in watching children, especially around any source of water.

Drowning Statistics

More than 35 children drowned in Texas this year. The deaths occurred in bathtubs, creeks, ditches, lakes, swimming pools and even in a septic tank. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately ten people in the United States die, per day, from an unintentional drowning. One in five people who drown are children aged 14 and younger. Additionally, for every child that drowns, five children get emergency treatment for serious submersion issues.

Water Safety Tips

So, what can be done to prevent these drownings? Here are some basic safety tips that may prevent future tragedies:

·      Supervise, supervise, supervise! - A responsible and undistracted (e.g., do not use your smartphone while watching the swimmers!) adult should constantly supervise young children in and around any body of water.

·      Learn to swim – This seems quite basic, however, numerous adults and children cannot swim. Studies show that formal swim training decreases the chances of drowning in young children.

·      Learn CPR – CPR saves lives.

·      Fence in pools – By state law, property owners in Texas must have their pool area completely enclosed.

·      When boating, use life vests – children aged 13 or younger are required to wear a life jacket when boating.

Negligence and Water Injuries

Sadly, these safety guidelines are not always heeded and often even the mandatory regulations are not always abided.   Most drowning and water injury accidents are avoidable. Many of these accidents are due to the negligence of another person or party. In general, negligence is when, “Conduct … falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”   This is an emotionally charged issue. Nobody is happy when a child dies or is seriously injured. No monetary reward resolves the pain but legally, if negligence occurred it might ward off another child from being harmed.

Alcohol and Water Related Accidents

It is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated.  Boating While Intoxicated,  or BWI for short,  is a serious offense.  In fact, according to BOAT US, alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of all boating accidents.    According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, nearly 85% of boating fatality drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. A typical boating accident fatality involves:

  • An open motorboat;
  • Weekends between the hours of Noon and 7 p.m.;
  • The victim falling overboard;
  • An operator between 26-50 years of age

A case closely matching many of these facts occurred when two Galveston County men were boating together in Harris County waters.  It is reported that the boat owner/captain was allegedly intoxicated.  A serious accident occurred.  According to an article in the Southeast Texas Record the passenger suffered “severe injuries to his face and frontal lobe and also lost an eye.”  A personal injury lawsuit filed by the victim appears to have very recently settled.  The details of the settlement are not yet part of the Harris County public records.    Being a responsible captain is required of all Texas boat owners.  It is not responsible to drink too much and place your passengers at risk.

Houston Area Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you love has been involved in a water accident or are the victim of a boating while intoxicated (BWI) accident in the Houston Galveston area, or anywhere in Texas, the experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Law Office of Lori Elaine Laird, PLLC can assist you in determining what legal options are available. Contact the Law Office of Lori Elaine Laird today at 832-699-1966 for a free legal consultation. Our firm handles all its cases with professionalism, dedication and personal attention.

Lori Elaine Laird

Former police officer. Aggressive, experienced trial attorney.

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