Two separate drowning incidents in North Texas cut two lives short over the weekend. 

The first drowning happened Saturday at a west Arlington pool. Sixty-three (63) year old Merritt Anderson died around 6:00 p.m. at an Arlington Hospital. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled the death an accidental drowning.

The second drowning occurred on Sunday in Lake Grapevine. Thirty-six (36) year old Stanley Walker was swimming in the lake near Murrell Park in Flower Mound. Around 3:30 p.m., he went under the water and never came back up.

Search crews from the Grapevine Fire Department dive team recovered his body after locating him with a SONAR scan. According to the Texas Game Warden, the incident appeared to be an accidental drowning. Mr. Walker may not have been wearing a life preserver at the time of the drowning accident.

Drowning is More Common Than Most People Realize

According to the National Safety Council, an average of 10 ten people die each day in the United States from drowning. The figure does not include boating accidents. 

For people of all ages, drowning is the fifth leading cause of death from unintentional injury. For children between the ages of one to fourteen years, drowning is the second leading cause of injury death. Except for birth injuries or defects, more children between the ages of one to four years die from drowning than from any other cause of death. 

During 2019 in Texas, 87 children died from drowning. As of August 12, 2020, the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services reports that 58 Texas children have died from drowning accidents. At least five to six times more non-fatal drownings occur each year.

Drowning occurs when a person has too much water into their lungs. A person can die in just an inch or two of water. Drowning can happen very quickly to individuals of any age, regardless of how fit or healthy the person might be at the time of the accident.

Taking Precautions to Prevent Drowning and Water-Injuries

Swimming pools, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water are great for cooling off in the warm Texas weather. However, these activities can lead to a tragic death or debilitating injury. 

Everyone needs to take precautions and follow safety protocols to prevent accidental drownings and water injuries. Texas Parks and Wildlife offers these safety tips for avoiding drowning:

  • Always wear a life jacket when boating or swimming in a lake or other body of water
  • Take swim lessons to learn how to swim
  • Always stay with children and closely supervise them whenever they are near water
  • Use a “kill switch” that turns off the boat’s engine if you fall overboard
  • Take a boater education course to learn more safety measures to prevent drownings and water injuries

Many accidental drownings occur in swimming pools. Homeowners, hotel operators, and other businesses that operate pools need to ensure that safety measures are in place to prevent pool accidents. Suggested swimming pool safety tips include:

  • Always supervise children whenever they are in or around a pool
  • Learn to swim and teach children to swim
  • Do not allow children to play near drains or suction outlets
  • Install safety barriers to prevent access to the pool, such as fences, self-locking gates, alarms, etc.
  • Remove all toys and objects from the pool area that could tempt a child to enter without an adult
  • Become certified in performing CPR for adults and children
  • If a child is missing, check the swimming pool first
  • Have a cell phone close by whenever using the pool
  • It is never wise to swim alone, regardless of age or experience

Taking the time to learn swimming pool safety measures could save a life. It can also prevent you from being held liable for a swimming pool accident.

Pool Owners Can Be Liable for Swimming Pool Accidents

Premises liability laws hold property owners liable for accidents that occur on their property if the owner was negligent or reckless. Swimming pool owners must take steps to protect guests and others from being injured or drowning while on the property. Premises liability laws generally do not apply to a trespasser, but they could apply in the case of a swimming pool accident involving a child.

Always secure your swimming pool with a locked fence that is tall enough to prevent a child from climbing over the fence. Remove ladders and other items that could be used to climb over the fence. Always keep the pool property maintained, including having safety equipment on hand for accidents or injuries.

If you or your child is injured in a swimming pool accident or drowning accident, including slip and fall accidents at swimming pools, you may want to talk with a premises liability lawyer about your legal options for filing a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim.