SWIMMING POOL SAFETY TIPS
One of the greatest perks of living in Florida is warm weather all year long. Tropical temperatures mean that pools are a common fixture in hotels, apartments, and in backyards throughout Florida. It is important to balance pool fun with safety, especially with small children. Drowning isn’t an uncommon tragedy. The CDC reports that approximately 10 people in the United States drown every day, and 20 percent of these deaths are children. For every child fatality, another 5 must receive emergency care for non-fatal submersion injuries.
You can help ensure that swimming pool accidents don’t end in injury or tragedy. Observe these top safety tips when spending time at the pool.
Comply with Required Safety Measures for Residential Pools
State law in Florida requires that residents who have swimming pools, spas or hot tubs have at least one of four safety measures in place. One safety measure is a barrier that isolates the pool from the home, which could be a fence or a wall that surrounds the pool. The barrier should prevent access to the swimming pool from the residence or the yard. It must be at least 4 feet high. Another approved safety measure is a manual or power operated pool cover. Floridians with pools can have exit alarms equipped on doors and windows with direct access to the pool. Under the law, the alarm must make an audible, continuous sound any time that a door or window is opened or left ajar. The final safety precaution that is permissible under Florida law is a self-closing, self-latching device on all doors and gates providing direct access to the residential pool.
Always Keep Children Under Active Supervision
While this may sound like common sense, many child drownings take place when parents or guardians look away for just a moment. Active supervision means that you are at an arms-length from your child while they are in or near a pool. Parents and guardians should watch for active signs of drowning, which could include when a child’s mouth is at the level of water, a child tilting their head back or if the child has glassy or closed eyes.
Be Cautious of Drains
An unsafe pool drain could suction and entrap a person swimming close to it. Sometimes, even a piece of hair or clothing could get caught in the drain and lead to drowning. In 2007, the Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act was passed requiring swimming pool drains to have safety covers and shut-off valves. Make sure that the pool you are using is compliant with this law, and teach children to swim away from the pool drain.
Ensure that Loved Ones Can Swim
Adequate swimming skills are perhaps the most basic protection from drowning. In Florida, swimming lessons are available year round. Explore age-appropriate water lessons so that everyone in the family is able to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, accidents can happen. If a swimming pool accident occurs, knowledge of CPR and first aid can mean the difference between life and death. Authorities such as the Red Cross frequently offer courses on CPR. These classes are short, inexpensive, but the learned skill can be priceless and lifesaving.
If you or a loved one become involved in an unfortunate swimming pool accident, the experienced attorneys at Wittmer|Linehan can help you evaluate your claim and recover damages for your loss.