Mary Dorsch was babysitting when she fell asleep at the child’s home located in the 5300 block of Malamin Road on September 9th, 2008. While she was sleeping, the child was left unattended and subsequently drowned in a swimming pool. The deceased child’s name has not been released.


Of all the age groups, toddlers are at the highest risk of drowning across the lifespan. Because they do not have the developmental ability to swim, nor can they keep their heads above water, or know how to get out of water. Young children can drown in very shallow water, including pails of liquid, toilets, bathtubs and baby pools. Drowning is the second leading cause of deaths related to injuries after motor vehicle accidents.


According to the CDC, children between the ages of one and four years of age are more likely to drown in swimming pools and hot tubs. Mortality rates secondary to drowning are three times higher for males. Approximately 78% of drowning victims are male. Unlike adults, young children do not call out for help while in distress, they generally drown silently. Near-drowning accidents can result in permanent brain damage. For every child that drowns there are approximately five near-drowning episodes in children. Drowning is the second highest cause of injury-related deaths in children between the ages of one and nine years old.  


The most effective prevention of death and injury from drowning is supervision. Supervise toddlers at all times while they are playing in the pool. Stationary pools should have a locked fence around them. Personal well-fitting flotation devices should be on all children that are passengers of boats. Never leave a toddler unsupervised in a bath tub. Unlike adults, young children do not call out for help while in distress, they generally drown silently. Supervision is very important, for this reason. Lapses in adult supervision, even while parents were home, are very common features of drowning accidents. Introducing swimming lessons and water safety at a young age will likely reduce the likelihood of drowning or near-drowning mishaps through the lifespan.    

Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer
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