According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4. The Florida Department of Children and Families report a macabre new record in 2021 with the most child drownings in 12 years. Last year, a record 96 children drowned in Florida. A new Florida law wants to change that.
Florida’s, “Every Child a Swimmer,” law will take effect for the 2022-2023 school year. The law requires Florida public schools to ask parents if their child has taken swim lessons. To the parents who respond their child has not had lessons, schools are required to provide swim safety and educational materials as well as where to find local swimming lessons.
With an abundance of water – ocean, lakes, rivers, pools, etc. more child drownings occur in Florida than any other state.
Pool owners can take safety precautions to keep their pool safe. Suggestions include, installing a fence around all sides of the pool. The fence should be at least four feet high with self-closing and self-latching gates. Installing a pool alarm, alerting homeowners when a gate is open. Some pool alarms even monitor activity in the water. An outdoor motion sensing camera is helpful as well. While a pool safety net or pool cover can catch a child.
Consider getting rid of the diving board and pool slides, both are considered a hazard. Also, keep inflatables and pool toys out of the pool when no one is playing with them. Inspect drain covers for suction pressure, they should have an anti-entrapment cover. Pool drains should be rounded with no cracks or missing screws.
“Don’t forget about hot tubs, they pose as much of a drowning risk for children as a pool,” says Dustyn Shroff, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independence homeowners insurance agency.
A hot tub cover along with sturdy hand rails and anti-entrapment drain covers can go a long way in keeping children safe.
The most important safety tip for pools and hot tubs, never leave children unattended. Be sure an adult in present and within arm’s reach.
With regards to insurance, if you own a pool, it is recommended to increase your liability protection to $300,000-$500,000. You might consider purchasing an umbrella policy to work with your homeowners insurance policy. This will increase the liability coverage limits of your underlying homeowners insurance to more adequately protect you against liability claims.