We are spending more time than ever with our families at home this summer. For many in Florida, that means a lot of time by the pool. Our home and neighborhood pools can be wonderful places to cool off during these hot months, but sadly headlines remind us to stay vigilant when it comes to the safety of our children around water.
With coronavirus restrictions, many children are at home this summer instead of the summer camps and programs they may have attended in the past. On top of that, parents are working from home and maybe more distracted. Unfortunately, these circumstances have contributed to an increase in drownings in 2020.
There was a 100% increase in young children drowning in Florida from January to April, compared to the same period in 2019, according to data from Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization that works to protect children from unintentional injuries. They cite backyard pools as the main place these drownings are occurring.
Here are the best ways to keep children safe around the pool, according to the experts:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends swimming lessons for children over one-year-old. Basic swim skills can put children less at risk of drowning. These include entering the water, coming to the surface, turning around, propelling through the water for at least 25 yards, and being able to exit the water.
Many cities have canceled summer swim classes due to COVID-19, but these organizations may still be able to offer direction for parents. Contact your local parks and recreation department for information about possible classes opening up in your area and related information. If group lessons are not an option, look into one-on-one instruction with a certified swim instructor. Also, consider contacting organizations like the Red Cross and the Department of Health.
There should always be at least one adult supervising children in the pool. Do not assume someone else is watching. Designate an adult to be the official supervisor. Their sole job should be to monitor the pool activity, without distractions.
Adults with children who frequently spend time around pools should consider CPR certification to better prepare themselves in case of an emergency. These adults should also know exactly what to do if an accident were to happen, including calling for help immediately. A phone should be nearby, but not a distraction.
Barricades and Alarms
Florida state law requires that residents with swimming pools, spas or hot tubs to have at least one of four safety measures in place to protect children from drowning. According to the law, a swimming pool is defined as a structure that contains water that is more than 24 inches (two feet) deep. These four safety measures include:
- A barrier, like a fence or a wall, or a combination of both, that surrounds the pool that is at least four feet high and prevents access to the swimming pool from the house or yard.
- A pool cover that’s either manual or power-operated and meets standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- An exit alarm installed on all doors and windows that have direct access to the pool.
- A self-closing, self-latching device on all doors and gates that provide direct access to the residential pool.
Pool Accident Liability
We urge our friends and family to stay safe on and around the water this summer. Pool accidents can be devastating, causing brain damage due to oxygen deprivation and even death. If you own a pool, know that there are strict liability laws regarding traumatic injuries in the pool. As a pool owner, you are responsible to comply with state safety codes. Even when you follow these codes, you could still be held liable if it is determined that you failed to plan for vulnerable children or adults wandering onto your property.
If you are injured in a pool accident, contact us by calling (305) 662-6178. Let us help you and your family.
Rubin, A. (2020, July 10) Kids’ death by drowning increased this year. Here’s how they can stay safe in the water. Retrieved from https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article243956992.html?
South Florida Hospital News and Healthcare Report (2020, July 8). Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Promotes Summer Safety Tips for Children. Retrieved from https://southfloridahospitalnews.com/page/NICKLAUS_CHILDRENS_HOSPITAL_PROMOTES_SUMMER_SAFETY_TIPS_/16388/25/
Korioth, T. (2019, March 15) Some kids have higher drowning risk: Swim lessons add layer of protection for all. Retrieved from https://www.aappublications.org/news/2019/03/15/drowningpp031519
Anas, B. (2018, March 15) State of Florida Swimming Pool Laws. Retrieved from: