One of the hardest things for parents to cope with is the loss of a child. When that child dies by drowning, it is especially hard to bear because these deaths are often preventable.
Louisiana children are particularly susceptible to drowning, unfortunately. In comparison to the 2.5 drowning deaths of young children per 100,000 across the nation during the years 2014 to 2017, Louisiana kids of the same age averaged 5.8 drowning deaths per 100,000 children. In fact, for that demographic group during the last decade, drowning eclipsed deaths in our state from suffocation, gunshots, fires or car accidents.
Second only to Florida
For kids from infancy to age four, Louisiana’s drowning rate is number two in the nation, right behind Florida. More than half (53%) drowned in unfenced pools when the parents had no idea their children were near the water.
Why is risk so high here?
Louisiana has fencing requirements for pools, like many other southern states with hot climates. Yet, except for outlier Florida, the other states do not have as many drowning deaths. One possible reason for the uptick is the delay in enacting more stringent policies coupled with parental lack of awareness.
Does this mean that you should keep kids out of pools?
No, not at all. The number one way to keep children from drowning is to teach them water survival and swimming skills at a very early age. Babies as young as six months can be taught to turn over and float face up in pools. That can buy parents the crucial seconds they need to enact a rescue.
If you are the owner of a pool here in Louisiana, make sure that it is behind locked gates and inaccessible to children, both your own and others. Because both pools and whirlpool spas are considered to be “attractive nuisances” under the law, the owners of the property could face premises liability litigation if a child were to drown on their property.
If your child drowned or had a near-drowning experience, learn how you may be able to hold the property owner liable for the loss or injuries.