Posted on Aug 17, 2016

Tragic Accident in Stafford Virginia

As the father of nine wonderful children, my heart skipped a beat when I read about the tragic drowning this week of a 3-year old girl in Stafford. We don’t know all the details, but she and her 2-year old brother were being watched at a home and at some point slipped outside. The little boy was found playing, but the little girl was found unresponsive in the pool at the residence. Because I see them so often as an attorney, I write a lot about the moments people would like to take back – regardless of who is at fault, everyone involved would give anything for a different outcome. How tragically true here.

As a lawyer, the very best I can do is help people pick up the pieces and be made as whole as possible after an injury. But as a community leader (and we are ALL community leaders), I write posts like this to help remind us that sometimes, if we are vigilant, we can prevent injuries in the first place - and that is ALWAYS worth the time and effort. This local tragedy reminds me of several important lessons.

Young Children are NEVER Safe Around Water

First and foremost, young children are NEVER safe around water unless an adult is right there, watching them every moment. Even the kid who swims like a fish is one wrong gulp of water away from tragedy if unsupervised. And “supervised” around water has to mean that kids have our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. If your child truly needs help in the water, you will not hear them because DROWNING IS SILENT. Unlike what we see in the movies, drowning children do not splash or struggle. To understand what drowning is actually like and why adults have trouble spotting it even when they are right there, watch this excellent video segment: Drowning Is Silent.

It has happened now in Stafford, but it could have happened anywhere. Summer is winding down, but the need for vigilance around water doesn’t ever take a break. It only takes a moment for a child to find some water – in a pool, a bathtub, even a bucket you might be using around the yard. And if they fall in, most likely you will not hear them. Drowning is silent. We need to be watching. Even as our hearts and prayers go out to this family, we need to boost our efforts to keep children safe around water.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney