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July has been a bad month for child drownings in greater Houston

Swimming pools are a favorite place for kids to cool down on a hot summer day. But summer is also the time that kids are most at risk for drowning. This month has already seen six child drownings in the greater Houston area, including a five-year-old girl in a backyard pool in Fort Bend County. So far this year 12 kids have drowned in the Houston area; 50 have drowned statewide.

Tragically, many child drownings are preventable. According to the Texas State Child Fatality Review Team, childhood drownings could be reduced by 50 to 90 percent if homeowners had adequate fencing. Close and constant supervision can also prevent a drowning. Those supervising cannot allow themselves to be distracted as it takes only two minutes for a child to lose consciousness underwater. And teaching kids to swim should be a priority for all Texas parents. According to the Centers for Disease Control, swimming lessons for kids can lower the risk of drowning by 88%.

Some swimming pool accidents are the result of negligence by the pool owner or operator. A lifeguard's failure to respond can give rise to liability if someone drowns. Pool owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe condition for guests. Owners should also keep their property adequately fenced to prevent access by young children.

When a child drowns due to the negligence of another person, the deceased's family has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. Damages that are recoverable include compensation for funeral expenses and loss of companionship. Though such a recovery may not bring a loved one back, it might help bring closure and a financial stability.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "6 area kids drowned this month," Samantha Ehlinger, July 27, 2014

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