A 21-month-old child was found drowned in a swimming pool in Deltona, FL in late July after she wandered outside; an 11-month-old Citrus County, Florida girl drowned in the family swimming pool last week after a dog pushed a gate open and she wandered into the pool; and in early June, a one-year-old was found at the bottom of the family pool after she was discovered missing from the house.
Unfortunately, these scenarios play out all too often throughout the state of Florida and the United States. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths around the home in Florida for children under the age of 5, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A toddler may submerge and drown by the time his or her absence is realized. Even more children suffer non-fatal submersion injuries.
The Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention, a foundation dedicated to reducing the number of diving injuries, drownings and near drowning injuries, reports the following statistics:
- The majority of drownings and near-drownings occur in residential swimming pools.
- A swimming pool is 14 times more likely to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under compared to a motor vehicle.
- Each year, approximately 5,000 children 14 years old and below are hospitalized due to near-drownings.
- Twenty percent of near-drowning survivors will suffer from severe and permanent neurological disability.
- Fifteen percent of the children admitted to a hospital for a near-drowning accident will die in the hospital.
While lounging at a family swimming pool is one of the best ways to beat the extreme heat this summer in Florida, it is important to keep key safety tips in mind when young children are around.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends establishing a barrier around a pool in order to prevent a child from getting under, over or through it and to keep the child from accessing the pool, except in the presence of supervising adults.
In addition, the following suggestions are offered for families with pools and young children:
- Children are inquisitive and move quickly, requiring attentive supervision in and around the home. Ensure that access to the home pool is secured and that your children are safely in the home unless an adult escort is available to take the child to the pool.
- When at the pool with your child, keep your eye on her at all times. NEVER leave a child alone at the pool for any amount of time.
- Get certified in CPR to provide the necessary rescue support if a tragedy does occur. Also, keep a phone nearby to call 911 immediately if needed.
Many of these tragic swimming pool deaths and injuries are preventable. By keeping these safety tips in mind, and educating family and friends that may visit, everyone can safely beat the Florida heat in the pool.
If you or a family member has been injured in a swimming pool accident, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable South Florida premises liability lawyer. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have more than three decades of legal experience helping victims of swimming pool accidents and wrongful deaths in South Florida and the Treasure Coast.
Call 1-800-299-8878 to speak with a respected South Florida premises liability attorney or fill out our online contact form.