Staying Safe in the Water

Most people enjoy spending time in and around the water, but a recent misfortune that occurred in New Jersey is a sobering reminder of the risks. In an unimaginable tragedy, three members of the same family — none of whom knew how to swim — drowned in a backyard swimming pool. 

What Happened in This NJ Pool Incident?

In late June of 2020, an 8-year-old girl jumped into an above ground pool in an NJ backyard. According to a neighbor, the girl jumped into the deep end of the pool, which was approximately 6- to 7-foot depth. The girl’s aunt was watching the girl and immediately called for help. The girl’s 62-year-old grandfather jumped into the pool to try to save the girl. Unfortunately, the man did not know how to swim. 

That was when the girl’s 33-year-old mother jumped in to help, but she did not know how to swim, either. The aunt was able to finally reach the young girl, but not before she drowned. All three family members who went into the pool tragically lost their lives. 

Know the Risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the US. Each day across the country, around 10 people die due to drowning. Out of those deaths, around two victims are under the age of 14. 

Drowning isn’t always fatal, but it is always a serious matter. Even when a person is revived after drowning, there is a high likelihood of them sustaining severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities, including learning disabilities, memory problems, and permanent loss of basic functioning. Non-fatal drowning accidents can still change your life forever. The more you can do to prevent a drowning accident from occurring in the first place, the better. 

Take Pool Safety Seriously

Swimming can be a wonderful summer activity, but only when people take proper precautions to stay safe. If you or your family members plan on having some fun pool time this summer, you need to understand how to prevent swimming pool accidents. First, it is not a bad idea to give your children swimming lessons early in their life, due to the disproportionate number of drowning victims who are children.  

You should never leave children unattended near a body of water. Depending on the child’s age, you should consider making them wear a life jacket at all times. Adults who do not know how to swim should make sure to stay at the shallow end of the pool. 

If you do not have a fence around your pool, you need to install one. Not only will this keep members of your own household safe, but it will prevent children or trespassers from your surrounding area from wandering into the water. If you do not have a fence around your pool and a child gets injured, you could be held liable for their injuries or death. 

Other Bodies of Water Can Be Unpredictable

If your summer water fun is going to involve a body of water other than a swimming pool, you need to take extra precautions. Many NJ residents and visitors love spending time at the beach, at lakes, or by the river. Each of these settings involves “moving water” with unknown depths. The unpredictability of these natural bodies of water leads to more hazards. 

For those who do not know how to swim, enjoying time onshore is likely the better route. If you are going to go into these bodies of water and aren’t the strongest swimmer, consider wearing a lifejacket. Children should always wear a life jacket in the ocean or at the lake or river.  By following water safety guidelines, you can help avoid a tragic drowning accident