DJS Associates, Inc., and the Aquatic Safety Research Group can provide you with qualified consultants in the areas of aquatic safety; beach, lakes and lifeguard safety; diving, slip and falls, drowning, scuba diving, shallow water blackout, warnings, water slides, pool equipment and chemicals, and water park safety.
Additionally, experts are available to address your cases regarding sports safety, risk management and supervision in physical education, athletics and recreation. Areas include:
Case Synopsis: A six year old swimmer attended a country club pool for the day with his mother. He was an accomplished swimmer for a six year old and spent most of the day swimming underwater recovering sinking toys that his mother had purchased. He spent all of his time in a very large shallow water pool intended for small children, guarded by two lifeguards, instead of the deep water pool intended for adults.
Expert Analysis: The lifeguards hired by the country club were very well trained, certified, and qualified. Not only did these lifeguards maintain American Red Cross certificates but they also obtained the required Health Department lifeguard license. Supervisors met with the lifeguards regularly to provide them on-going in-service training. In addition, there was a mandatory rest or safety break prior to each hour. Sometime during the safety break, with the pool empty of all members and guests, the child separated from his mother but was not thought to be missing. Shortly after letting swimmers back in the pool, the lifeguard on duty noticed the child submerged underwater. She responded by bringing the child out of the water and beginning resuscitation. Resuscitation efforts failed and the child died due to drowning.
What made this case unusual is that the boy drowned in a depth of water where he can easily stand up. The family argued that there were not an adequate number of lifeguards, they were not well trained, and they were distracted at the time. Defense argued because the young boy was an accomplished swimmer, and he could stand up in the water where he had drown, and he was repeatedly holding his breath, this could have easily been a case of shallow water blackout or perhaps a genetic drowning trigger precipitated by voluntary breath-holding.
Result: An undisclosed settlement was reached in this case.
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