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:
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.
During the summer months in Florida and other States, children enjoy the free time and water related activities like swimming in the pool of summer camp, school, day care center, community center, friend, or neighbor. Splashing around and playing with friends to beat the summer heat can be great fun. Unfortunately for some children and families, these very same swimming pools can be the site of the serious personal injury or death of a child due to a drowning incident. Approximately 1000 children per year the United States drown. Another alarming statistic is that over 5000 children suffer personal injuries each year as a result of near drowning related incidents. While drowning does not discriminate by age or anything else, it is clear that it is the youngest children in the community who are at greatest risks. Drowning is reported as the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old. Many drowning related incidents and near drowning related incidents can be avoided through better and more attentive adult supervision during swim time. Furthermore, any time that a child is near a body of water whether it is a swimming pool, wading pool, lake, river, ocean, water park, etc . . . – measures should be taken to supervise children so that they do not wander off and go play in the water or aquatic related area without proper adult supervision and related safety measures.