Every year in South Florida, and in fact everywhere in the United States where the climate is warm and the need to cool off is high, thousands of families find themselves falling victim to preventable drowning accidents. Children have lost their lives to drowning accidents simply due to lack of adult supervision while splashing in the pool. It only takes seconds for a drowning tragedy to strike. Picking up the phone, turning around to pour a drink, or attend to another child out of the pool without another set of eyes on the pool can all result in a what amounts to a preventable drowning incident.
An adult on their cell phone, reading a book, or having a conversation does not count as “adult supervision” for minors or the vulnerable elderly. Adults in charge of supervising minors must be focused solely on the children in and around the swimming pool at all times, especially those new to the water (in this instance, parents should be in the water with the child, never leaving them alone in the pool at all). Split second distractions lead to unnecessary drowning deaths.
The tragedy of a drowning accident can be prevented, and should never happen in the first place. This is why it’s important for those caring for minors and the elderly to do thorough research about the importance of pool safety and drowning prevention. Those who want to keep their own families out of harms way, prevent drowning incidents, and educate other family members and friends with minors the Shaked Law Resource has put together another series of writeups presenting the information necessary to dive into Summer 2019 safely.
Within this writeup (an in-depth followup to last year’s Unsupervised Swimming Pools Account for High Number of Drowning Accidents) readers will be able to find updated, helpful tips for maintaining pool safety year-round, as well as important information pertaining to what must be done after a tragic drowning accident. It’s important to be prepared for any summer activity that takes place around water (ocean and swimming pools alike, as both pose a risk). The laws that surround what’s known as social host liability and accidental drownings can be costly to those who don’t take proper measures to protect the safety of those they’re supervising. Knowing how to prevent drowning incidents from occurring in the first place can save both heartache for families and money for social hosts and property owners in the long term.
This writeup will provide the following information for our readers interested in summer safety:
- Why is proper pool fencing important?
- What safety measures does proper pool fencing provide?
- Why is South Florida’s drowning risk higher than other states?
- How do families move forward after a drowning accident tragedy?
Why is proper pool fencing important?
As we noted in last year’s writeup on the subject of drowning accidents, the most important aspect of pool safety is adequate fencing installed by a reputable company. Fencing can ensure that no minors will be able to access a pool area without adult supervision. However, installing a fence on the property doesn’t instantly ensure a minor won’t slip away and fall into the swimming pool. It’s important to remind everyone in the home (and visitors) to close the gate behind them when entering and exiting the pool area.
Even more importantly, the gate should have a locking mechanism, visitors unfamiliar with the home should be reminded to lock the gate behind them each time they come and go from the area. Small children are fast learners and can easily sneak past adults. Children are smart enough to be able to push open an unlocked gate very easily, and in seconds this can turn tragic. That’s why adding and using a locking mechanism (with a pool alarm) on any pool area gate should be a priority.
#ShakedSafetyTip: There are several reputable Florida-based companies that offer affordable fencing services in an effort to help families prevent drowning accidents before they have a chance to occur.
What safety measures does proper pool fencing provide?
- Prevents children from slipping past adults and into the pool area, highly reducing the chance of drowning accidents
- Provides peace of mind for parents and other adults hosting events where minors are present
- Keeps potential trespassers or party crashers out of the pool when the family is at work, at play, or on vacation away from the home
Why is South Florida’s drowning risk higher than other states?
Florida poses one of the highest risks in the country for drowning accidents. This is because swimming in warm, tropical climates is a year-round activity, thus upping the chances of these incidents occurring exponentially.
Because the risk of drowning in warmer climates is so high, it’s important to establish appropriate pool safety rules with children. Minors should be introduced to “rules of the pool” as soon as parents feel they’re old enough to begin swimming lessons. Younger children should never be allowed to swim before successfully completing certified swimming lessons from a licensed, reputable swimming instructor. Even after successfully mastering swimming lessons, no minor should ever be left unsupervised in a pool.
CPR is also something families should familiarize themselves with. Each member of the family should be introduced at their individual skill level as to the appropriate response to someone in the group requiring medical attention. The American Red Cross offers these classes at every skill level low cost and even free of charge for families who are interested in a safer South Florida summer.
In the Shaked Law Resource’s 2018 Your Guide to Summer Safety: Precautions, Preparedness, Prevention we provided some helpful tips for parents on how to get started with pool safety.
In 2018’s swimming safety writeup, we provided the following tips for parents, and they haven’t changed. Parents should establish the following important safety measures for children of varying ages:
- How to quickly contact 911 in the event of an emergency
- How to administer CPR (the child should be old enough to understand the step-by-step process)
- Pool-appropriate behavior (“no running!”, “no diving!”, “no pushing others into the water!” while showing children they don’t need to do those things to have fun in the water)
- Minors are never to swim without adult supervision–whether they are at home or at a friend or relative’s home
- “no adult, no swimming” should be established early and often. Remind children that if there is no adult present, they should not attempt to go near the swimming pool
How do families move forward after a drowning accident tragedy?
Hopefully, the questions answered within this writeup have provided an informational, thorough look at what the insurance company doesn’t want those who have suffered a wrongful death to be made aware of: their rights after a near drowning accident or a wrongful death due to drowning. The insurance company’s main goal has always been, and always will be to keep money in their pockets, and out of the pockets of victims and families who deserve to see their mediation settle for the maximum compensation, or their trial seen to a successful verdict.
When a tragedy such as a wrongful death due to drowning occurs, families are shattered and most don’t know how to move forward or what comes next. It’s important to fully understand the rights and compensation owed to a victim (or their surviving family) after pain and suffering occurs post-accident or death.