The Personal Injury Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC take note of the astounding rate of drowning deaths involving children that occur each year throughout the state and how they can be prevented. According to FloridaHealth.gov, Florida has the highest drowning death rate in the nation amongst children ages five or younger. On average, approximately three quarters of these deaths involve swimming pools accidents. Shockingly, more than a quarter of swimming pool drowning incidents happen while adults are present.
Some basic safety tips include:
Constant monitoring of children is vital, regardless of whether your child is swimming in a pool, or simply in the vicinity of one. Water Watcher Tag’ system, in which an adult is designated to closely supervise children. The designated watcher wears a lanyard around their neck, which as a reminder to adults to pass the responsibility of supervision onto another adult.
Explain to children, in an age appropriate manner, the risks associated with being in or near any body of water without adult supervision. A child’s ability to fully understand the dangers of water is often gained through basic swimming instruction. Further, a child that knows even the most basic of swimming skills, may be able to reach the side of a pool or keep themselves afloat until help arrives. Because every second counts, the longer a child is able to keep their head above water, the better the victim’s chances are of avoiding death or serious injury due to oxygen deprivation.
Pursuant to Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act, at a very minimum, pools must have a 4 foot barrier (fence), and have access gates that open in an outward direction, with a self-latching locking device located on the pool side of the gate. Pool owners are encouraged to use multiple barriers, or layers of protection, such as installing alarms on all doors, windows and gates that provide access to the pool (including dog doors and any other potential points of entry); using a motion-detecting or water-movement detection signaling device; and covering pools or spas with an approved cover. See the CPSC’s Consumer Safety Brochure for more information on barrier systems.
A phone should be kept nearby whenever children are swimming. In addition, statistics show that drowning deaths can be greatly reduced when parents, caregivers, water watchers, or other persons responsible for supervising children know CPR. Further, always look in pools or spas first when a child is missing. It is also helpful to know your neighbors, in particular, consider the following: (1) do your neighbors have a pool and you have children; (2) do you have a pool and your neighbors have children; (3) does your neighbor know CPR and you have children; (4) do you know CPR and your neighbor has children?
While Florida’s alarming drowning rate is in part due to climate factors that facilitate swimming year-round, this provides all the more reason for parents, caregivers, and pool owners to take the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of children. The Gainesville attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC encourage the residents of our community to practice pool safety, as well as share your knowledge with family, friends, and neighbors. By doing so, we can all contribute to the reduction of drowning deaths and serious injury caused due to water-related accidents, the vast majority of which are preventable.