Each year, thousands of people are injured in preventable accidents. One such accident involves the pool. The total number of unintentional drownings surges during the summer, with many of the accidents being completely preventable. Because of this, now is the time to review summer swimming pool safety. By doing this, you can avoid devastating losses and ensure everyone has a fun and safe summer.
Florida Drowning and Pool Accident Statistics
Before diving into how to be safe this summer around the pool, it’s important to understand how serious and widespread swimming pool and drowning accidents are in Florida.
Consider these statistics:
- Florida is ranked number one for the drowning death rate in children under five.
- Drowning is the number one reason for fatalities in children who are between the ages of one and 14. It is ranked number two in fatalities for minors between one and four years old.
- Up to 77% of children involved in a residential drowning accident were missing for less than five minutes.
- Installing a four-sided fence around your pool can reduce the possibility of a drowning accident by up to 80% compared to three-sided fences.
Now that you understand the seriousness of this situation, it is time to take the necessary steps to help keep your family, friends, and guests safe this summer.
Tips to Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents
While there is no guarantee that an accident will not occur, you can reduce the likelihood of a swimming pool accident when you use the safety tips below:
Invest in Swimming Lessons
If you want to ensure that everyone is safe around a swimming pool, it is best to invest in swimming lessons. This is true for adults and children.
Avoid Leaving Children Unattended Near Water
No child should be left unsupervised while swimming. Also, everyone should have a swim buddy to ensure they are safe and always accounted for.
Purchase and Maintain Lifesaving Equipment
It is necessary to not only have lifesaving equipment but also to know how to use it. Some of the items to have near a pool include:
- Ring buoy
- Reaching pole
- Portable phone
- U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices
To add another layer of protection, consider installing a pool alarm.
Install a Fence Around the Pool
As mentioned in the statistics above, having a four-sided fence installed around your pool is necessary to help keep children out when no one is near the water. Be sure the fence doesn’t have any type of foothold that would allow a child to climb over it. Also, the fence posts need to be small enough that a child cannot get through.
The gate for the fence should be self-latching and self-closing. This will ensure the pool is locked and off-limits when no one is swimming.
Remove Toys from the Pool
Once everyone is done swimming, all toys and floats should be removed from the pool. This will ensure a child is not tempted to try and retrieve the toy at another time or when no one else is near the water.
Avoid Using Pools with a Broken or Missing Drain Cover
If the drain cover is missing, it could create a dangerous situation. Make sure you have installed a safer, newer drain cover before using the pool or spa. Also, dome-shaped drain covers are safer than flat ones.
Install an SVRS (Safety Vacuum Release System)
With a Safety Vacuum Release System installed, the pump will automatically be shut off if a blockage is detected. If someone is entrapped against the pool drain, make sure to shut the pump off right away. Do not attempt to pull the person away from this powerful suction; instead, use your hand to break the seal between the drain and the individual’s body.
Understanding Swimming Pool Accident Liability in Florida
In Florida, there is something called the RSPSA – Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act. According to this, property owners can be held negligent if they fail to protect children or frail adults by installing a minimum of one pull safety feature.
However, those injured must prove negligence per se, which means that the homeowner’s negligence is what caused the injuries that occurred, not that they had a duty or breached it. All the plaintiffs must do is to show the results of the accident.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you or your child is the victim of a drowning accident, you have rights, and you may have the right to recover compensation. To learn more about your rights, ask questions, or contact a free consultation, contact our team of legal professionals at Fetterman & Associates, PA by calling 561-983-4771. We can review your case and help ensure your rights are protected and that the negligent party is held responsible.