In the State of Florida and across the nation, one of the leading causes of death for small children, and especially toddlers, is drowning. In Florida, there are private residential swimming pools, public swimming pools, and hotel/motel/resort swimming pools in just about every community. It is important for property owners, business owners, home owners, and government entity to properly safeguard the swimming pool and aquatic area for the protection of children. It is well known and expected that a child, especially one of tender years, under the age of 5 years old, to be curious and inquisitive about interesting areas and what is deemed under Florida Law to be an “attractive nuisance.”
Unfortunately and tragically, there are reports of drowning incidents every summer, spring and the rest of the year in Florida. Many such incidents are preventable with the proper implementation and maintenance of swimming pool fences and barriers, swimming pool alarms, proper adult supervision, proper lifesaving equipment, and the posting of trained and attentive life guards when appropriate. When a child suffers personal injury or dies as a result of a drowning incident there may be a case or claim to pursue on behalf of the child and the family. To establish a legal claim r case, there must be proof and evidence of the following four elements:
Walt Disney World Orlando advertises itself as one of the “Happiest Places on Earth”. For millions of visitors every year, it is quite a happy and joyful place filled with rides, cartoon characters, and adventures; however, for many children and their families, Walt Disney World Orlando happens to be a placed filled with horrific memories, significant personal injuries, tragedy, and even the untimely and wrongful death of a visitor from children to teens to adults. Certainly, Walt Disney World Orlando welcomes children and families to its many theme parks, attractions, resorts, and hotels. As such, it is important that Walt Disney World Orlando provide a safe and well maintained environment with the full knowledge that every day families and young children will be on the premises. This duty extends to all areas of the park and resorts including but not limited to the attractions, rides, restaurants, hotels, lobby areas, swimming pool areas, recreation areas, and yes, the other aquatic areas whether man-made or natural in the form of lakes, ponds, canals, lagoons, and other areas. It is incumbent upon Walt Disney World Orlando to patrol the areas, maintain the areas, clean up the areas, and post prominent signage about potential dangers that may include those related to electrical and wildlife. If an area has the potential for significant injury or death, this particular area should either be closed off, modified, and / or posted with prominent signage.
A recent incident at Walt Disney World Orlando left a family and community in shock when an alligator from the Seven Seas Lagoon lunged out of the water and grabbed a 2 year old who was standing in or near the water with his father. The boy, who was vacationing with his family from Nebraska, was attacked by the alligator. While the father tried to do his best to stop the attack and save his son, he was unable to do so. It was reported that there were signs in the area that advised visitors about the designation of a “No Swimming” area. There may not have been any warnings or signage about the presence of dangerous wildlife including but not limited to alligators. Certainly, this incident was and is a complete and utter nightmare for the family visiting the “Magic Kingdom” from Nebraska. The incident was immediately reported to Walt Disney World Orlando officials, resort staff and management, local law enforcement, and Florida Wildlife Law Enforcement officers. You can read more about this tragedy at KETV Omaha, Nebraska – Alligator Attacks and Drags 2 Year Old Nebraska Boy at Walt Disney World Orland Resort – Seven Seas Lagoon.
The injury and / or wrongful of a child is a harrowing experience. Certainly, as parents, we work day and night to provide for our children’s safety, health, and welfare. When a child is injured or when a child dies as a result of the negligence of another person, business entity, or government entity, a parent is faced with a number of life, medical, and legal challenges. Certainly, it is important that these trying times to be supported by family members, friends, community, medical professionals, clergy, community, and, yes, when necessary an experienced and caring Florida Child Injury Lawyer. Big businesses are supported day / night by in-house and retained legal counsel essentially on a 24 / 7 basis. There are risk management and insurance risk management adjuster in place to advise and protect the companies. As such, injury victims and their families also deserve legal representation to make that legal rights are protected, enforced, and preserved as needed especially in the aftermath of significant personal injuries and /or wrongful death.
In Florida, swimming, boating, and aquatic activities are essentially year round activities. This is especially true during the spring and summer seasons. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die every day from drowning related incidents. Children under the age of 14 account for 2 out of the 10 deaths. It is reported that drowning is the 5th leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.
Disney and other theme parks are magical. For some, they are a place where dreams come true. For others, they are a place that sadly are a reminder of a horrible tragedy in the form of a death or a serious personal injury of a child. It was recently reported that a 3 year old child drowned at the Disney World – Art of Animation Resort located in Kissimmee (Orlando), Florida. It was reported that the 3 year old child was found in the pool at approximately 8:00 p.m. The child was found underwater. The child was then taken to a local hospital where the child was pronounced dead. What a terrible ordeal for all involved.
Even though the risks are well known or should be well known to all adults, some how children including but not limited to toddlers drown every year at private pools, community pools, day care centers, and water parks. Even one child, who drowns as a result of a preventable incident, is one child too many. There are many reasons out there for this ongoing problem during the summer months and other times of the year. It is important to spot the problems and put preventative measures in place to prevent any further drowning incidents.
Children are at risk for drowning incidents any time that children are near or in a swimming pool area or similar area like a lake, pond, water park, etc. . . . As for residential swimming pools, it is important that pool owner and supervising adults keep a swimming pool out of the reach of children. Certainly, a swimming pool owner, child care provider, and others watching child should following the applicable state and local laws; however, merely following the law will not prevent some incidents from happening. There really is not substitute for common sense, supervision, or due diligence.