Summer in Florida brings with it the desire for families to hit the beautiful pools, lakes and water parks our state has to offer. However, if the proper precautions are not taken, lives can be put at risk. Parents must face some hard facts when it comes to drowning statistics. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old. It is also the third leading cause of injury-related death among children 19 and under. At the law firm of Michael T. Gibson, we want you to stay safe while enjoying time on the water this summer. Below are some water safety tips from SafeKids.org to help you and your loved ones avoid a serious personal injury or wrongful death this summer.
Water Supervision Tips:
- Actively Supervise Children. When children are in or around open bodies of water, always give them your undivided attention. Do not allow yourself to be distracted when children are near water. Avoid texting and other activities that may take your eyes away from the children. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
- Constant Supervision. Implement the “Water Watcher Card” strategy, where supervising adults rotate supervision by 15-minute intervals. This helps to prevent lapses in supervision and it is very useful when there are a group of adults and children together.
- Take Extra Precaution with Infants and Toddlers. When supervising infants and toddlers in or around water, make sure to always keep them within arm’s reach. Remember to slowly introduce babies to water (this can begin for babies as early as 6 months old). Always use waterproof diapers and change them frequently.
Water Education Tips:
- Talk to Your Kids about Swimming Safety. Enroll your children in swim lessons when you feel they are ready. They should learn how to tread water, float and stay away from deeper waters. Make sure they understand they should only swim in designated swimming areas.
- Discuss Different Water Environments. Explain to your children about the differences between swimming pools and open bodies of water (such as lakes or the ocean). Make sure they understand to stay away from underwater drains and suction outlets, found in pools. Discuss potential risks associated with open bodies of water, like uneven surfaces, rip currents, undertow and changing weather.
- Facts about Flotation Devices. Advise your children on the proper uses of swimming aids. Items such as water wings, noodles, and blow up toys cannot be used in place of life jackets or a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD).
- Instruct Your Children to Never Swim Alone. Children should always swim with an adult for safe supervision. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner as well.
- Learn CPR. The entire family should understand the importance of CPR. Take a class in CPR along with your children. This will be a valuable skill that will provide peace of mind and serve them for a lifetime. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
Water Maintenance Tips:
- Keep Swimming Areas Safe. Take time to ensure the area surrounding your pool is safe. Backyard pools should have four-sided fencing, at least 4 feet high, with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Frequently check that these features work properly.
- Properly Manage Inflatable and Portable Pools. After each use, make sure to fully drain these types of pools and store them away in a safe place, out of your child’s reach.
- Prevent Access. Install a door alarm and/or a window alarm near pool areas, to help alert you if your child attempts to wander there unattended.
- Secure Your Pool’s Draining System. Pools with flat drain grates or a single main drain system pose the greatest risk of entrapment underwater. Use an anti-entrapment drain cover and safety vacuum release system to prevent this. Also, regularly inspect your drain covers for cracks or loose edges. Pool and hot tub drains should be compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.
Additional Boating Safety Resources
- Boating Safety Tips From Safe Kids Worldwide
- Swimming Safety Tips From Safe Kids Worldwide
- Water Safety Tips From Safe Kids Worldwide
We Want The Water To Be Safe For Our Kids and Yours!
Many of us will spend more time in and around water this summer. While it is important to enjoy these moments, water safety is just as important. If you or a loved one has suffered a water-related injury or wrongful death, contact an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney immediately. The law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. is dedicated to serving you and protecting your rights regarding personal injury or wrongful death due to water-related accidents. We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Contact our office to discuss your legal options in greater detail.