Drowning Injuries and Death
Drowning in swimming pools, lakes, and in the ocean, also needlessly claims thousands of lives each year. According to statistics, drowning is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death for people ages 1 through 77. There are two types of drowning: Active, where the person is aware and fighting for their life, and passive drowning where the person simply disappears with no fight.
Drowning deaths and injuries can occur due to improperly prepared or unsupervised lifeguards. Frequently lifeguards are only young kids who lack experience and training to do their job effectively. They also may not be in the ideal physical shape to be responsible for the life of other people. Additionally a lifeguard can become bored, fatigued and lose their concentration and focus, especially if they remain in a single spot while overlooking the pool or beach area for an extended period of time. In this case they may not be as alert, and may miss critical signs of impending trouble that are taking place in the water. In certain instances, people have been known to forge lifeguard certificates allowing them to be responsible for swimmers and yet have no experience or training. Even in those instances where lifeguards are properly certified, problems arise in different standards of training. A lifeguard certificate can be received from different facilities and standards and training may vary significantly. This may lead to confusion for the lifeguard, and leave them ill prepared to perform their life saving tasks. It could also result in mistakes that cost a swimmer their lives.
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Man made lakes present unique problems as they have steep drop-offs with no warnings and often times no lifeguards on duty. Even the most experienced swimmers can become shocked, and disoriented by a sudden drop-off where they can no longer touch the bottom, panic and drown. There are certain rules that lakes are required to follow but these rules are lenient at best and difficult to enforce. Swimming accidents that lead to serious injury or death could have been prevented by posting signs, providing for rope barriers, and using other obvious safety measures.