The Perils of Spring Break

Some college student’s spring breaks have come and gone. For some, it’s just around the corner. The safety of spring break drinkingchildren during a spring break trip is a concern for many parents. Spring breakers are basking in the freedom of vacation away from parents and there seems to be a never-ending flow of alcohol. This combination can be injurious and deadly. With four college aged grandchildren, I share that concern. Being injured in a strange place, away from home and the comfort and care of parents can be frightening for a young adult. Here is some information I found regarding spring break safety that you can pass on to your children.

Over-service of alcohol: This is a huge. When college aged students go on a spring break trip, you know alcohol will more than likely be consumed – and a lot of it. Most states have dram shop laws, which allow licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries or death as a result of their intoxication.

Social host liability: Similar to dram shop laws, if an adult hosts a parties and alcohol is consumed by minors and as a result, injury or death occur, the host of the party may be held responsible. Injuries in the case of social host and dram shop laws don’t have to be traffic related. This also includes acts of violence.

Traffic accidents: Between the last week of February and the first week of April, a considerably higher number of traffic fatalities occur in popular spring break destinations compared to other locations in the same states and at other times of the year. Sometimes, it’s as dangerous to walk home. With an elevated amount of negligent driving this time of year, there is also risk of getting struck by a car as a pedestrian. It’s best to leave the car behind, stay off your feet and hail a cab or use Uber or Lyft for a safe ride back to the hotel.

Alcohol related injuries: Binge drinking can come with a price. We’ve all read stories about young adults dying from alcohol poisoning. Drinking too much can also turn any normal activity into a dangerous one, such as a boating, swimming, sitting in a hot tub or standing on a balcony.  Also, binge drinking has also resulted in a number of sexual assaults.

What is the best way to protect your child? If your child is going on a spring break trip, make sure you educate them on the dangers of binge drinking. Tell them to stay in groups with people they know and never leave a party or bar with strangers. Ensure they understand the risks of drinking and driving or getting in the car with someone intoxicated. Perhaps even give them access to your Uber account for a free ride back to their hotel. The best course of action is to keep them from going on a spring break vacation. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Water Park Injuries

Water park injuriesWater parks are everywhere.  Disney to Grey Wolf, indoor or outdoor, chances are one can be found driving distance from home. According to the World Water Park Association, there are more than 1,200 in the United States that saw nearly 16 million visitors in 2015. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been to a water park at least once this summer. It’s a great play date to beat the heat, right?  However, water parks come with certain risks. Damages sustained can leave victims and their families with large medical bills, devastating injuries, and lifelong emotional and mental trauma. Some of the injuries so serious, they can be fatal.

Possible water park injuries:
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bone & skull fractures
  • Paralysis
  • Chest or heart injuries
  • Neck and/or back injuries
  • Slip, trip and falls
  • Waterborne pathogens
  • Crush fractures
  • Heat related injuries
  • Drowning
Who’s at fault?

Fault can be complex in water park injury cases. There is a number of people that may be responsible.

Water park’s owners

The property owner of the park is responsible keeping patrons safe from injury. Whether a ride is faulty or is improperly operated or maintained, the company that owns and operates the water may be held responsible for his or her action or inaction.

Water park employees

If the employee is at fault, more than likely the water park will be held responsible, assuming that the negligence of the employee was under the scope of his or her work.

Employee negligence:

Water park employees are capable of human error. Slight oversights or error in judgments can be made leading to Water parkseveral types of water park injuries, such as:

  • Allowing a person that is too large or too heavy on water rides may cause unanticipated speeds for that rider. This puts the rider is at great risk of injury, particularly at the exit of the water slide.
  • Letting a larger person to follow a smaller person or young child down the slide may result in the larger rider overtaking the smaller rider and resulting in a collision.
  • If the water ride involves an inflatable tube shared by several people, the slide attendant has to estimate the combined weight of all riders. If they underestimate the tube can move too quickly which can result in throwing riders or deflating the tube.

An owner won’t be held responsible if injures by an employee were willful, reckless or malicious, and outside the scope of his or her employment. For example, if a water park employee intentionally tripped or punched someone, in most cases only the particular employee may be sued, and not the employer.

Product manufacturers

It’s possible for injuries to result from the improper design of water park attractions.  If a visitor is injured because the ride or slide’s design posed risks, the manufacturer of the product may be liable for injuries.

Patrons

Many water parks ask patrons to sign a release of liability – a fail-safe from getting sued for injuries incurred at the park. Certainly, there are injuries that can be avoided if the visitor to the water park follows the rules. If they don’t, they are responsible for their own injuries. However, liability waivers aren’t always bulletproof. Sometimes the rides, slides and obstacles pose a threat that the patron could not foresee, but the park should have. If this happens, the waiver may be questioned. However, if a court upholds it, consumers will be legally responsible for injuries to themselves or their child.

When using a water park, there are certain risks that should be anticipated by the patron. However, the rides must be designed, cleaned and maintained properly by the owner, if not, visitors have the right to file a law suit.

Accidents happen and sometimes no one is a fault. If you’re injured at a water park, it’s a good idea to contact a water park safetypersonal injury attorney to understand your rights.  What may seem like a freak accident could actually be the result of negligent behavior.

Have a fun and safe summer.

Drowning AFTER you leave the water

kids water safetyDrowning after swimming…it’s a frightening and rare occurrence, accounting for only 1-2% of drowning fatalities, but it can happen. It’s known as “secondary drowning,” or as lifeguards call it, “parking lot drowning,” and can transpire hours after leaving the pool.

When someone inhales a small amount of water during a near drowning or a sudden rush of water,  muscles in the airway may spasm, interfering with the flow of oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream. The result, excess fluid in the lungs called pulmonary edema. When this happens, secondary drowning can occur.

It only takes a few seconds to breathe in a tiny bit of water. A person can be out of the water and walking around normally for hours before showing signs of secondary drowning. Injuries may include labored breathing and brain injury, and if left untreated, death.

Symptoms

They may not be easy to recognize, especially in a child who has had a long day of swimming. Here are some signs to be cautious of, especially for a child that struggled in the water and perhaps had a near drowning experience during the day:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Physical changes such as blue lips and pale skin.

If you notice any of these signs, immediately go to the emergency room. Time is a factor in delayed drowning just as it is in water drowning. Also, pool water is more dangerous because the chemicals cause additional irritation to the lungs. If caught in time, delayed drowning can be treated with oxygen and by removing fluid from the lungs.

Though young children are more vulnerable to this phenomenon, age is not a factor. Adults can also be victim to delayed drowning. It’s preventable, just like any other drowning case.

Ways to keep your child safe in the water:
  • Swimming lessons: Children skilled at moving around in the water are less likely to go under and take in baby swimmingwater. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend formal lessons at age four, and they recognize that water-survival skills programs designed for infants younger than 12 months  may lower drowning rates in 1- to 4-year-old children.
  • Supervision: Diligently watch children playing in or around water.
  • Water safety measures: Children should always wear life jackets on boats; and it would be good practice in the pool for weak swimmers. Pools should be contained on all for sides. Never leave standing water where a child could get into it. Drowning can occur in even small amounts of water.
  • Swim with them: Get in the pool with your child and never be further than an arm’s length away.

 

If you’re curious to read more about delayed drowning incidents, visit these articles at  Huffington Post and Medical News Today.