The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) recently studied mortality records from the Department of Public
Health over the last seven years in Georgia to determine if
swimming pool drownings and other drowning deaths related to recreational activities were reducing
in number since safety awareness efforts had increased in the state. The
conclusion drawn by the data, which carefully isolated cases involving
swimming pools and recreational bodies of water, was not hopeful. AJC
researches determined that
drowning deaths in Georgia have been on the rise since 2013.
Drowning Deaths are Nearly Always Preventable
A spokesperson from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was quoted
as saying that “many of these [recreational drowning] deaths are
preventable if people followed safety rules.” It is a disheartening
message to hear after officials throughout Georgia from multiple departments
have pushed for better safety regulations and, perhaps more importantly,
more campaigns to make the average Georgian aware of drowning dangers.
New efforts may need to be more specific to target the demographics at
the greatest risk of fatally drowning in swimming pools, ponds, and lakes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 80%
of fatal drowning victims in the country are young men under the age of
35. The AJC research determined that nearly 90% of drowning victims in
Georgia in 2016 belonged to that demographic. It is believed that young
men are more likely to drown due to a proclivity to engage in reckless
and self-endangering behavior, either for sport or for entertainment.
Young men may also be more likely to assume that they are strong swimmers,
regardless of real world experience with swimming and dealing with water hazards.
Dangerous Bodies of Water in Georgia
Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier – northwest and northeast of Atlanta,
respectively – were identified as the two most dangerous bodies
of water in Georgia in terms of drowning fatalities. The Chattahoochee
River south of Atlanta was also identified as an “accident-prone”
area, with about half as many drowning deaths in the same study period
as the Allatoona and the Lanier Lakes. AJC researchers also noted that
the number of fatal drownings at these locations could be higher since
they had to rely on death certificates that often did not give specific
details on how a person perished at these three sites.
Addressing the Issue of Swimming Pool Safety
On lakes, rivers, and the Georgia shoreline, it can be difficult to create
safety systems that prevent young children and inexperienced swimmers
from entering the water. The Department of Public Health urges parents
to keep a close eye on kids in such situations, as their vigilance is
the first and best line of defense there. However, for swimming pools,
there is an opportunity to enhance safety.
75% of Georgian children who drown in recreational settings drown in pools,
most of which are privately owned in backyards. In response to this clear
and present danger, legislation throughout Georgia has been recently updated
to require locking gate systems that are at least four-feet tall to be
placed around every pool in the state. This gate system regulation is
not new, but it is new in the way that it is now statewide. Hopefully
this change and more in the future will help bring the number of preventable
drowning deaths in Georgia down to zero.
For more information about the rate of Georgia drowning deaths,
click here to visit the full article posted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If you need an Atlanta personal injury lawyer after a loved one was injured
or fatally drowned in a swimming accident that you believe was caused
by another party’s negligence, you are encouraged to call
888.425.6070 at any time to connect with Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.
Free consultations are available to prospective clients.