As temperatures rise in the greater Milwaukee area, residents will gather at beaches, lakes, and other waterways to stay cool or take part in the many fun and exciting water-related activities our region offers. Sadly, in recent years drownings have been on the rise in the Great Lakes. According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, of the 100 total Great Lakes drownings occurring in 2021, 48 happened in Lake Michigan.
Other startling water safety facts include:
- Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children, especially those younger than four and teens.
- Surviving a drowning can leave someone with severe brain damage — 5%-10% of childhood drowning cases result in long-term disability.
- The CDC reports more children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects.
- For children ages 1–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.
However, life jackets can prevent drowning during water activities, especially boating and swimming. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 613 boating-related deaths in 2019—79% of these deaths were drowning-related, and of those who died from drowning, 86% were not wearing life jackets.
The lawyers of Murphy & Prachthauser are committed to educating the community about water safety and providing families with the necessary resources to keep kids safe this summer.
Life Jacket Giveaway
In May 2022, Murphy & Prachthauser announced a life jacket giveaway where the law firm purchased 500 life jackets to donate to youth in the areas where the team lives and works. With high interest from the community at the launch of the program, Murphy & Prachthauser purchased additional life jackets to accommodate the demand. Children were provided a free life jacket at the events and the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Wisconsin DNR participated to ensure the proper fit. Participants selected from infant life jackets, child life jackets (30-50 lbs.), and youth life jackets (50-90 lbs.). In partnership with Keith’s Marina, who assisted with sourcing the life jackets, Murphy & Prachthauser’s giveaway events took place on Saturday, May 14 at the firm’s Waukesha location and on Saturday, May 21 during the West Bend Farmer’s Market. Pre-registered children were required to be present at one of the two events to receive a free life jacket and to ensure proper fitting of the device. However, the Murphy & Prachthauser team made sure everyone who came out for the events either received a life jacket for the children present or will receive one in the mail.
“Taking critical precautions to prevent leading causes of child injury, like drowning, is a step toward keeping children safe,” said Michelle Hockers, Milwaukee personal injury attorney with Murphy & Prachthauser, S.C. “Summer is a great time to enjoy time with family at a pool, beach, or on one of our community’s beautiful lakes, but it’s important to remember that drownings are a leading cause of injury or death for young children.”
Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Water Safety Information
Murphy & Prachthauser’s events encouraged the use of U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation devices while swimming or boating in Milwaukee area waterways this summer, as well as provided educational water safety information.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary, the civilian uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard, supported Murphy & Prachthauser’s life jacket giveaway events by providing:
- Assistance with life jacket size selection
- Proper life jacket fitting for each child
- Instruction on how to properly use a life jacket
- Water safety Q&A
Hockers added, “Sadly, drowning occurrences have risen in recent years, but are preventable when the proper safety measures and supervision are provided. Our team is committed to helping spread awareness, education, and the necessary resources to help families stay safe while swimming or boating during the warmer months ahead.”
Do you have questions about how to keep children safe this summer in lakes, pools, and other waterways? Find water safety resources here.
Get important tips from Murphy & Prachthauser in this article from the State Bar of Wisconsin: Boating Safety Begins with Knowing the Law.
For more information about the personal injury resources provided by Murphy & Prachthauser, visit www.murphyprachthauser.com.