From the time our children are born, most of us begin worrying about every possible hazard, and in Florida many such issues are centered around water. It can be exhausting trying to make sure that kids stay safe in the sun and the surf—and even more so when they are poolside. Swimming pools are wonderful for relaxing, exercising, and family fun. But this is often an area where children are prone to running and slipping, falling in, and sometimes even entering the water when they do not have permission. As summer approaches, here are some tips to make sure everyone stays safe, while also offering you greater peace of mind regarding your home swimming pool:
- As Florida law requires, make sure you have one of the required safety options for your pool at home. The most popular safety option seems to be the barrier, generally in the form of a fence. It must be at least 48” high, without any gaps or areas would allow children or others to gain entry. Be aware that this barrier should allow enough space so that if someone were to climb over it they would not fall directly into the pool. Other options include having a pool cover, alarm, or self-latching devices on doors that lead out to your pool.
- Your pool should be updated and equipped with a special drain cover that eliminates the chance for entrapment (due to suction). Older drains without covers can be very dangerous as both children’s or adult’s hair can easily be caught, making it hard for them to get back to the surface. Drain covers should eliminate the chance for drowning, but make sure you also know how to turn it off (whether in your pool or a hot tub) quickly in case of a problem.
- When children are swimming, there should always be supervision. Accidents are the number one reason for loss of life in children in the US, with drowning high on the list. Although kids may be good swimmers, supervision is necessary as there are so many reasons they could become distressed or even incapacitated in the home swimming pool—whether due to falling in, head injury, exhaustion, rough play that makes it hard for them to surface, and more.
- Avoid the use of alcohol around the pool. Judgment may become impaired and reflexes are slower when individuals are under the influence. Your liability is also greatly increased once alcohol enters the picture—and exponentially so with a group of people in or around the water.
- Make sure your homeowner’s insurance is in force and that you feel comfortable with the coverage you currently have for accidents; if you are unsure, call and speak with your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Always have at least one safety flotation device at the poolside. Make it clear to kids, however, that these are not toys. They are serious lifesaving devices and should always be nearby in case of emergency.
While you may be extremely careful about safety at your home swimming people, remember to exercise caution at other pools too, including those that are public and may sometimes be crowded with swimmers of all ages. Swimming pool accidents can have serious long-term consequences such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and much more.
If you or your child have been injured in a swimming pool accident, the attorneys at Heintz & Becker can help. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after a swimming pool injury. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!
All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.