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Has COVID-19 Led to an Increase in Drownings?

the sun shines on an empty pool with a ladder for exit

The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of those living in Connecticut and around the country has indeed been profound.

Virtually every aspect of modern life has been affected – including recreation.

Though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have not yet released the final numbers for 2020, there is evidence that the number of drownings jumped last year.

How could that possibly be tied to COVID-19, you ask?

With travel severely limited, 2020 saw a sharp rise in the number of pools installed in the U.S.

Combine that fact with the fact that parents and children were stuck at home working and studying remotely, and one had a dangerous combination.

A parent sitting on a Zoom call with colleagues and clients cannot possibly watch a child closely. And a child stuck at home, studying remotely, had plenty of opportunities to wander off in the hope of finding something more interesting.

Add in an existing or new pool, and one has a dangerous combination.

As any water safety expert will confirm, it takes only seconds for a child to drown.

Now while the full extent of the harm will not be known until the CDC releases their findings – the rules for keeping adults and children safe around water have not changed.

Here are some basics to remember:

  • 70% of accidental drownings happen outside of designated “swim times.”
  • Always install and adequately maintain a protective fence around any pool.**
  • Make sure that all fence gate latches are at a height only an adult can reach. Installing a lock on the gate also improves safety.
  • Supervise children closely 100% of the time when they are in or near water.
  • If possible, teach your children how to swim so they can manage should they fall in.
  • Remind everyone of the essential swimming rule – never swim alone.
  • Swim sober.
  • Teenage boys are particularly vulnerable to drowning – in large part due to their tolerance for risky behaviors. Remind them regularly of the dangers.
  • Understand and adjust to the water environment you find yourself in (ocean vs. pool vs. river vs. lake.
  • Always wear a life jacket while boating.

If a loved one is ever harmed in a swimming accident in Connecticut, know that the Connecticut personal injury lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting people like you for over 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever injured in an accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut injury lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation.

**Section 421 of the State of Connecticut Building Code details the fencing requirements for a swimming pool fencing enclosure which include:

The fence must be at least 4 feet tall with any opening at the bottom no greater than 2 inches

A fence surrounding a pool must be a solid barrier without any protrusions. For example, a climbable stone wall does not meet code requirements as a fence.

Access gates must have self-latching devices which must be placed inside the gate on the pool side if the latch is less than 54” above the bottom of the gate.

A fence composed of vertical and horizonal members requires the horizontal members to be placed on the inside of the fence

A chain-link fence requires that squares be 2 1/4-inches or 1 3/4-inches, depending on the type of chain link fence.

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