Losing a loved one to a drowning accident is arguably one of the worst things a person can go through. These accidents happen more of than one would think, especially in our state. New state data shows child drownings hit a record high in Florida last year with 98 children dying in 2021. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented with proper knowledge and precautions taken before entering the water.
- Drowning Accidents and Deaths Are Common in Florida
Our state has a whopping total of 1.2 million backyard and public pools, as well as tens of thousands of natural bodies of water. With all the ocean fronts, pools, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water in our state, Florida is ranked 6th in the nation for the number of unintentional drowning deaths reported every year.
- Young Children Are At Risk of Drowning Deaths
From 2017 to 2019, Florida was ranked as the state with the highest number of unintentional drowning deaths among children ages one to four years old. Our state also had the highest unintentional drowning death rate of 3.28 for every 100,000 individuals among children between the ages zero to nine years old. Additionally, drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four, which is why it is important that adults properly supervise any children around any body of water.
- Most Drownings Occur in Residential Swimming Pools
The great majority of drownings in children between the ages of one and four years old occurred 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 too the pool.
- Supervision Can Prevent Drownings
One of the best ways to prevent a drowning accident from happening is to supervise the 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.
- Drowning Injuries Can be Severe
Drowning injuries are serious, and they happen more often than one would 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.
- Certain 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 impress upon all 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.
- 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.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a drowning accident, you should consult with an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer. Since 1991 our Miami personal injury law firm has successfully represented victims of wrongful death accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, insurance fraud, slip and falls, motor vehicle accidents, and accidents aboard cruise ships like those of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Princess, Holland America, and others. We provide free and confidential initial legal consultations. Call our office today and speak with a Miami personal injury lawyer 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.