Losing a loved one to a drowning accident is arguably one of the worst things a person can go through. These accidents are a common occurrence, especially in our state. The leading cause of death for young children in Florida is drowning. Children are at serious risk for injury or death any time they are near a swimming pool. Drowning accidents can happen when swimming pools are not being used. Unlocked or broken pool gates are especially dangerous for young children. These tragic incidents commonly occur in backyard pools, hotels, apartments, and condominiums.
- Most Drownings Occur in Residential Swimming Pools
The majority of drownings in children between the ages of one and four years old occur in residential swimming pools and not larger bodies of water. In fact, six people drown in pools every day in the U.S. Many of these residential pools are considered “unsafe” under the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act that was enacted in 2000. The Act specifically lists out safety measures meant to prevent these types of accidents. Unfortunately, over 90 percent of all Florida home pools were built before this Act was passed into law. One of the measures included in this law is a mandate that all pools built after October 1, 2000, must have a pool fence, a pool cover, alarms on doors, and windows leading to pool or self-closing, self-latching device for any doors leading to the pool.
2. Proper Supervision Can Prevent Drownings
One of the best ways to prevent a drowning accident from happening is to supervise your children while near water. Do not assume that simply because you are at a public pool, your children will be supervised and safe. Many of these deaths occurred in pools where lifeguards were not on duty, but the fact that lifeguards are not present does not mean these accidents do not happen. Nineteen percent (19%) of child drowning deaths occurred in public pools with lifeguards, which means parents or caregivers should always keep an eye on their children when swimming in a residential pool, even if a lifeguard is present.
Swimming pool accidents and injuries can be prevented by using caution. It is important that caregivers remain vigilant and sober when supervising children in and around swimming pools. Homeowners, owners, and property management companies are legally responsible for providing safe swimming pools. This includes maintaining the areas around the pool so that guests do not get injured by slipping and falling. Our South Florida swimming pool accident attorneys strongly urge parents and caregivers to always supervise children whenever they are near a pool.
3. Most Drowning Injuries Are Severe
Drowning injuries are serious, and they happen more often than you think. They can result in significant brain injuries, as well as death. In fact, more children die in the U.S. from drowning than from car accidents. If a child survives a near drowning accident, he or she will likely suffer from some type of permanent brain damage due to the loss of oxygen sustained during the accident.
4. Preventive Measures Are Important
Drownings can be prevented, which is often why the injuries or deaths resulting from drowning are so devastating. Teaching your children how to swim is one excellent way to prevent potential drownings from occurring. It also helps to advise swimmers to stay away from drains in or around the pool.
Additionally, when someone owns a residential pool, it is important to ensure that all parts of the pool are up to code and are safe. This means that all drain covers must be working and tightly installed. The homeowner must also install proper barriers, covers and alarms around the pool. Make sure a fence at least four feet high must be built around the pool’s perimeter. Make sure the fence is not climbable and is properly locked to keep others from being able to get into the pool unsupervised.
The Florida Legislature enacted the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act that defines the types of covers and barriers that must be utilized in Florida. Section 515.27 requires that new residential swimming pools have at least one of the following in place in order to receive a final inspection and certificate of completion:
- Pools must meet barrier requirements.
- Pools must be equipped with approved safety covers.
- Alarms must be placed on doors and windows with access to pools.
- Doors must have self-closing devices at least 54 inches high.
5. Know the Statute of Limitations
It is important to know just how long someone has to file a claim for drowning claim. Florida’s statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident for nonfatal drowning accidents. However, if the drowning results in a death and the family of the deceased wishes to file a wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. If two years passes before filing a claim, the family will be barred from pursuing a legal action.
Call our office today and speak with a Miami swimming pool accident attorney 24/7–toll-free at 1-866-597-4529, locally at 305-441-0440–or reach us by email at [email protected]. We are ready to help you.