Articles Posted in Hillsborough County Child Injury Attorney

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a double drowning of two siblings at a Tampa hotel on Sunday.

Two siblings — a 12-year-old male and 17-year-old female — were pulled from the hotel swimming pool, both unresponsive around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The brother and sister had traveled with their family to Tampa from Dallas, Texas, with a large church group for a function.

Officials said deputies and fire rescue attempted to perform live-saving measures on the brother and sister. The boy was pronounced dead on scene and the girl was taken to Tampa General Hospital where she died Tuesday.

Summer is in full swing, and most Floridians or visitors to our home state are looking to cool off at the pool. Swimming pools are indeed one of the most popular places to be as swimming is one of the highlights of a summer vacation. Families vacationing in Florida often make the swimming pool their first stop after checking into their hotel room.

What you may not know is that on average, 400 children die every year from drowning in pools and spas across the United States. Emergency rooms treat an average of 5,100 children annually for injuries related to a drowning incident in swimming pools and spas.

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A 1-year-old child drowned Tuesday night in a pool at a Davenport home.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the child was found floating in the family’s pool at their home.

Deputies and emergency personnel responded to the home after the child was found floating in the pool just before 5:30 p.m.

Family members said the boy was able to get out through a sliding glass door without anyone noticing.

When the family noticed he was missing, they began searching for him and found him in the pool.

A neighbor, who is a registered nurse, performed CPR until emergency crews arrived but they were not able to save the boy.

Backyard swimming pool accidents usually result in catastrophic injuries and even death. According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is a leading cause of injury and death for kids ages 1 to 4, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. For children between the ages of 1 to 4 years old, swimming pools pose a huge risk of drowning injuries and wrongful death.

For every child under the age of 15 who dies from drowning in a swimming pool, another 10 children receive emergency room care for nonfatal drowning injuries. Nonfatal drownings can result in brain damage and long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functions.

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Can you believe that Labor Day weekend is next week? Sadly, that means that summer is coming to an end. If you are like most Americans, you will have a three-day weekend to celebrate all your hard work this year. While you may be planning a trip to the beach or hanging back to relax at the pool with friends and family, just know that with all gatherings, the risk for injuries increases over holiday weekends.

If you are injured or someone you love is killed in a boating or swimming pool accident, you should discuss your legal options with our Tampa Bay Watercraft & Boating Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible following the accident.

We know that many Floridians favorite pastime over Labor weekend is to head out and enjoy the water on one of the last summer weekends. The waterways and public pools can be crowded this LDW, and crowds can increase the hazards, including drowning or near-drowning accidents.

If you are heading out with friends and family to spend the weekend on beaches, lakes and rivers, put safety first. Boats, jet skis, tubes, and other water sports equipment are fun, but they can be dangerous. Most people tend to listen to music and drink when on the water, which can cause everyone to get distracted and ignore safety measures. Another thing to remember is that drunk, distracted, or inexperienced boat drivers can often be involved in boat crashes that can injure passengers.

Keep in mind, anytime water is involved, there is always the risk of serious drowning incidents or other catastrophic injuries.

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It’s summer! That means it is time to get to the pool and cool off with friends and family. There are pool parties, family gatherings and just pure summer fun all centered around the pool. Tampa can get pretty toasty in the summer months, so you and the kids are bound to take a dip in the pool a few times, if not daily.

Swimming pools are awesome, but they can also present some hazards to kids. However, if you follow the safety tips listed below you can stay cool and safe.

An Adult Needs To Supervise Kids At All Times!

Kids have to be monitored 24/7 by an adult whenever they are near water. Some parents are OK with passing this responsibility off to a teen babysitter, but we urge you to reconsider. Teens can get distracted way easier than adults. Looking away or stepping away from the pool for even a few minutes can prove deadly. It is best to follow the 10/20 rule: Check the pool every 10 seconds and make sure you are close enough to get to a child in distress within 20 seconds.

Install A Fence And Gate Around Pools

Pools should be enclosed with a fence and a gate. This makes it a lot harder for small children to gain access to the pool unsupervised. Children can find ways around gates and fences, so try to keep anything they can stack to climb over the fence out of their reach.

Safety Devices Can Malfunction

“Water wings” and life jackets can deflate, puncture, etc. Don’t rely on these to help your youngsters. Teach your kids to swim or enroll them in swimming lessons.

Keep A Fully Charged Cell Phone Nearby

Accidents can happen in mere seconds. Having a phone close could save a life if a medical emergency arises. It is also a good idea to have your address clearly listed on spot that guests can easily find in case an emergency occurs when you are not there and the emergency operator needs it.

Empty Kiddie Pools After Every Use

Children can drown in very small amounts of water because they  do not have the upper body strength to pull themselves up. Leaving a kiddie pool filled with water near the house could be disastrous as kids can easily fall in and drown.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

Pool festivities often involve alcohol. Just keep this mind: drinking can cause your focus to drift away from the main task at hand, which is watching the little ones swimming or playing near the pool.

Nix The Horseplay

Don’t let kids play too rough or try to perform any crazy tricks. Cannonballs and backflips should be left to the professionals.

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Each year, numerous accidental deaths occur when children are left inside hot vehicles. Since 1998, an average of 37 US children have died every year from being left inside hot cars. A good amount of these were caused by lack of attention and could have been prevented. In these cases, vehicular heatstroke can be a wrongful death case.

According to statistics from 1998 to present, children left inside cars are the result of three primary circumstances:

  • In 54 percent of cases the child was ‘forgotten’ to be in the car.
  • In 29 percent of cases, kids were playing unattended inside a car without the knowledge of the caregiver.
  • In 11 percent of cases, the child was intentionally left inside the car generally while the adult ran an errand.

Within minutes of being left inside a hot vehicle, a child is in serious danger. The following tips can help you prevent making a lethal mistake:

  1. Never Leave A Child Alone In A Car. Sadly, 53 percent of all the children who died from vehicular heatstroke were under the age of 2. Some of this is because caregivers/guardians did not want to disturb sleeping infants or deal with unbuckling car seats for a “quick stop.” The truth is that even a few minutes can be fatal. The inside of a car can heat up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in less than ten minutes on an average summer day.
  2. Heatstroke Can Happen In Minutes. Heatstroke can happen in a child when their core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees and becomes lethal at 107 degrees. A child’s core temperature can spike three to five times faster than adults, so heatstroke can happen in temperatures as low as 57 degrees and in shaded areas. Symptoms that a child is reaching dangerous heat levels include disorientation, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
  3. Give Yourself A Reminder. Most cases of child deaths in cars involve forgetting the child was even in the car. You can prevent this by setting reminders and insisting that caregivers set reminders that there is a child in the back. Place something you need in the backseat so that you are trained to look in the back seat every time you exit the car, even if you don’t have a child with you.

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Two Tampa men have invented a device aimed at saving children from hot car deaths after becoming tired of reading more and more news stories regarding these tragedies.

They are currently looking for investors for their device they named Sense a Life.

According to the men, Sense a Life alerts parents and caregivers to safely remove children from a vehicle immediately upon leaving the vehicle themselves.

Sense a Life uses two sensors: one under the child car seat that senses weight and one installed near the driver’s side door. When the door opens and a child is in the car seat, a voice alert reminds the driver to take the child out.

The user also receives an alert on their phone. If ignored for a certain amount of time, the alert can also be sent to a second parent or guardian.

The men plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in April to take the device to production.

The entrepreneurs hope to market the product to individuals directly or to car and child car seat manufacturers.

For more information, go to sensealife.com or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/sensealife.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 30 children died from heat strokes in cars in 2014. Experts say it is the second most common cause of death for children under the age of 14, second only to crashes.

This device could be the answer to preventing the high number of deaths associated with child heatstroke deaths in hot cars. Time will tell if this device is a solution, but our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are very happy to see strides being taken towards eliminating unnecessary deaths.

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Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in 2010. The law noted that hybrid vehicles are very quiet, especially when driven below 18 miles per hour. Due to this,  Congress required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop regulations for noise alerts on these silent hybrid vehicles by January 2014. This deadline was then extended to November 2015, and then to March 2016. Auto makers are expected to have 18 months to comply with the new mandates once they are issued.

Sadly, in the meantime, pedestrians remain at risk. Pedestrian accidents have actually increased since 2009, and the fact that people cannot hear hybrid and electric vehicles approaching the same way that they can hear traditional gas-powered vehicles places pedestrians at a greater risk of becoming involved in an accident.  

Drivers should always keep a close watch out for all pedestrians, especially those who may be blind, distracted or need extra time crossing the street.

If you have suffered harm from a pedestrian accident in Tampa Bay, you may have the right to recover for your past, current, and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expense related to the accident and pain and suffering.

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Officials said two toddlers nearly drowned in Clearwater over the weekend.

On Saturday, a 1-year-old boy was found face down in a 55-gallon drum of water, according to reports. The incident occurred sometime after 6 p.m. Saturday at a home located in the 2500 block of Highland Acres Drive.

According to investigators, the child was with his father in the backyard of the home. The boy wandered off while his father was working in the backyard and when the dad noticed the child was gone, he went to look for him.

The father found the baby face-down in the water, and he pulled his son from the water and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

Dunedin Fire Rescue said the boy had a pulse and was breathing when they arrived. He was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital for life-threatening injuries.

Investigators believe the drum of water was partially buried in the ground and being used as a tilapia farm.

Second Toddler Found in Clearwater Pool

Police also reported that a 2-year-old boy was found in a backyard pool Sunday morning.

The incident happened at 10:30 a.m. at a house in the 2000 block of Buford Boulevard.

Police said that family members pulled the boy from the pool and administered CPR until Clearwater Fire & Rescue crews arrived. The firefighters were able to regain a heartbeat before taking him to Mease Countryside Hospital.

The toddler was later flown to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition.

Officials believe several people were at the house at the time of the incident. They think the child was in the pool for less than five minutes.

Private pools pose the greatest risks for drowning, especially for children that are too young to know how to swim. This is why it is critical for parents to accompany their kids when poolside or in the water at all times to prevent tragedies. At Whittel & Melton, our Tampa Bay Swimming Pool Accident Lawyers understand that no one can be completely vigilant 100 percent of the time. However, this is why restricting access to swimming pools as much as possible is essential. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a four-foot-high fence with a locking gate that should run around the entire perimeter of any backyard pool, at minimum. Unfortunately, builders and homeowners often fail to include this safety feature because a fence would ruin the look of a deck, patio or yard.

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If you are like most Americans, you will be celebrating Halloween this weekend. Halloween is quite a fun holiday, providing you with the opportunity to dress up in a unique costume and eat a lots of candy! Halloween is known by children for its trick or treating, and for good reason. This year alone, Americans are projected to spend $2.1 billion on Halloween candy!

Around 41 million trick or treaters between the ages of 4 and 15 are expected to be out on the streets this Halloween. And while Halloween is a spooky fun holiday, it is important to not forget the list of potential dangers that can arise. Serious injuries can occur, ranging from pedestrian accidents, dog bites and even slip and falls or trip and falls. The following safety tips can ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe this Halloween while out and about in the Tampa Bay area.

Tips for a Safe Halloween

  1. Carry a flashlight with you while stomping through the streets. A flashlight can warn motorists that you are on the road and help illuminate your walking path so that you can clearly see ahead and avoid a trip and fall accident.
  2. Put reflective tape on your children’s costumes, and even their candy bags, so that they can easily be seen at night. You want to make sure your children are as visible as possible when out trick or treating. Accidents usually occur when drivers cannot see children.
  3. Make sure your child can walk in his or her costume and that it is not too long. You may need to hem or trim the bottom of the costume to avoid any unnecessary falls.
  4. Never let your child go out trick or treating alone. Make sure your kids are in a group and escorted by a parent or guardian.
  5. Remind children to stay away from dark houses.
  6. Inspect all candy before you let your children dig in.

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A 13-year-old boy suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning after he was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike in Tampa.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred shortly after 8 a.m. at the intersection of West Waters Avenue and Riverwood Boulevard.

Deputies believe the boy was riding his bicycle when a vehicle at the intersection turned and struck him.

The boy received minor abrasions to his hands and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital to be checked out.

The driver was not cited.

A parent’s worst nightmare is seeing his or her child suffer an injury of any kind and deal with the pain as well as the healing process. Sadly, many children are the victims of other people’s negligence, which can result in serious harm. Even worse, sometimes another person’s carelessness or recklessness can lead to the accidental loss of a child. When this happens, the parents may have the right to bring a claim for wrongful death and seek compensation for the loss of their child.

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