A recent incident at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex found that twin toddlers, just two years old, drowned when they wandered from their apartment and through an unlocked gate to the pool area. Attorney Jason Chalik knows that accidents such as these are preventable. “As parents of three children, Debi and I are always concerned about the children and pools,” said Chalik. “This is a tragedy that could have been avoided had the pool owners taken minimum precautions.”
Florida holds the highest rate of drowning-related child deaths in the nation, according to the Florida Department of Health. With over 1 million private residential pools and a community pool in nearly every apartment complex and city center, it’s important more than ever for Florida families to understand pool safety and responsibility.
Both parents and pool owners can take steps to ensure the safety of children who play near or in pools. The following tips can help you keep your little ones safe in and around the water and make sure everyone has fun without fear of drowning.
Pool Safety Tips for Parents
It is parents’ responsibility to monitor their children at all times when they are near or in a pool. The first step to keeping your child safe is to talk about pool safety. Before playing in or near the pool, you should remind your child of the following safety rules:
- never to go near the pool without an adult there to supervise;
- do not run, jump, or skip near the pool;
- do not swim during rainstorms or when there is lightning or thunder;
- only swim at night when the pool area is well lit;
- walk carefully on wet decks or sidewalks when going to or from the pool;
- no horseplay in or around the pool; and
- if someone is hurt or in trouble, get out of the pool and call for help.
Many community centers and summer camps offer swimming classes to teach children how to swim and proper water safety at an early age. It’s never too early – or too late for that matter – to learn how to float, tread water, and swim. For young children who do not know how to swim well, a parent or responsible adult’s watch is the best safety measure. Even at pool parties, public pools, water parks, and beaches, it is ultimately the parent’s responsibility for the safety of their child – not the lifeguard.
Even experienced swimmers can be in danger if they are running near a pool and slip and fall into the water. If a child hits his or her head or injures a limb, he or she may be unable to swim to safety. Remind your children that they should never run near a pool or other slick surface.
Pool Owners Are Responsible For Keeping Their Property Safe
By Florida law, all pools are required to have at least one safety feature designed to alert owners of entry to the pool area or to keep people from easily entering the area. Approved pool safety features include:
- barriers (fences, walls, gates);
- pool safety covers;
- exit alarms on all doors or windows with direct access to the pool area; and
- self-closing, self-latching devices on doors with direct access to the pool area.
When a pool is in use, it is the pool owner’s responsibility to make sure that a responsible adult is watching the pool at all times. Pool owners should know CPR or ensure someone in attendance is certified in CPR and drowning first aid. The owner should also know the location of the nearest hospital if a tragedy does occur.
Child Drowning Tragedies Can Be Prevented
Attorneys Jason and Debi Chalik are parents of three children and understand how precious children are to their families. At Chalik & Chalik, we handle cases of child drownings with care and compassion as if it were our own family. If your family has suffered the loss or injury of a child due to a negligent pool owner’s inattention to safeguarding the pool, we are here to help. Call 855-529-0269.