Now that summer has officially begun, many families are heading down to the beaches or visiting hotels with pools. A string of tragic stories has recently circulated in the State of NJ regarding the drowning deaths of very young children. Since drowning is among the leading causes of death of children and infants, it is extremely important for parents to supervise their children at all times near the water. On July 10th, a 4-year-old girl was pronounced dead just three days after being pulled out of an unguarded lake. She had been swimming with a group of children but she did not emerge from the water with her friends. When emergency personnel rescued her from the water they were able to find a pulse, but tragically she passed away at the hospital three days later.
Recently, a six-year-old drowned in the deep end of a swimming pool at a Wildwood hotel. There was no lifeguard on duty. Incredibly, New Jersey law does not require that motels or hotels have a lifeguard present. Often times, a parent looking away for even a moment can result in a tragic accident.
Even though hotels are not required to have lifeguards, they still owe patrons a duty. And inadequate warning signs, failure to gate a pool, or structural problems with the pool are all factors that are relevant to hotel management’s responsibility.
If you see a child struggling in the water, get them out of the water immediately and check to see if they are breathing on their own. If they are not, begin to perform CPR immediately. You should call out for someone nearby to dial 911 while you focus on giving rescue breathing and CPR. It is common for vomiting of water to occur during the CPR phase. Once the child has begun to breathe on their own, call 911 if no one else was able to, and keep a close eye on your child until paramedics arrive.
Children with seizure disorders are particularly vulnerable to drowning so supervision is always a must. It is also a smart idea to set water safety rules for kids or even for the whole family. For example, no one should ever swim alone, and limits can be set on how deep they can venture for the less experienced swimmers. In addition, swim lessons are readily available at many local pools and YMCA’s.