Drowning deaths in Florida are up 70% when compared to this time last year, according to Water Smart Tots.
For children in the state between ages 1 and 4, drowning is the leading cause of death. Florida Health reported that there are enough child drowning deaths each year to fill three to four preschool classrooms.
The nonprofit says 12 children died from drowning in February and March of this year, compared to zero deaths during those months in 2019.
“The drowning statistics are rising at an alarming rate even more now that families are home-bound juggling working from home and homeschooling older children,” according to Water Smart Tots. “Toddlers are experts at momentarily escaping adult supervision only to be found unresponsive in a pool, lake, canal, bathtub, etc. “
With that said, it is important to point out that drowning accidents can happen in a matter of minutes. In the time it takes you to throw in a load of dirty laundry or answer a phone call, a child could drown. Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1–4. The majority of infant drownings occur in bathtubs and buckets. Children ages 1-4 are more likely to drown in home swimming pools. Children over the age of 5 are most likely to drown in natural bodies of water.
Your family’s safety is a top priority, so knowing and understanding proper water safety tips can keep unnecessary drowning accidents from occuring. Our Tampa Bay Swimming Pool and Drowning Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like to remind you of the following safety precautions around bodies of water:
- Do not leave a child alone in or near water. While this rule seems so obvious, drowning is a silent tragedy. A drowning death can happen in just a few minutes.
- Do not rely on lifeguards when you are at a public pool or beach. You still need to take responsibility and designate someone to watch any children with you while they are in or near water.
- It is very important to teach your children how to swim. This can be fun for them, and also save their life. There are many places that offer free or discounted lessons.
- Pool drains can be hazardous. Broken, loose, or missing drain covers can lead to drowning catastrophes. We recommend teaching your children to stay away from drains and suction outlets, especially in spas and shallow pools. It is quite easy for hair, limbs, and bathing suits to get stuck in the opening.
- By installing proper barriers, covers and alarms around your spa and/or pool, you can save lives. A fence at least four feet high should surround the pool or spa on all sides. This fence should not be climbable and should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate.
- Be prepared for the worst. Learn and know how to perform CPR on children and adults. Bystanders are usually the first to help a drowning victim.
The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (Chapter 515, Florida Statutes) requires pool safety measures for pools built after October 1, 2000. It is the intent of the Legislature that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature as specified below.
Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act Summary
- A pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate—enclosing the pool and providing no direct access to it.
- An approved pool cover which is fitted to your pool; a simple canvas covering can be a drowning hazard and can entrap a child in the water.
- Alarms on all doors and windows leading out to the pool.
- A self-closing, self-latching device on all doors that provide direct access from the home to the pool; the release mechanism must be no lower than 54 inches above the floor.
Swimming pools are great, and can be a fun way for families to enjoy time together and cool off, but they can turn deadly in a matter of moments. If a family member has been injured or killed in a near-drowning or drowning accident, you may have a claim for financial damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and any past and future expenses that are likely to occur in relation to the accident.
Our Tampa Bay Swimming Pool and Drowning Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you determine what your legal rights are and whether you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to discuss your case.