Articles Posted in Defective Swimming Pools

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Miami, Florida – Drowning is the number one cause of death among children in Miami-Dade County. With Summer approaching, more children will be in or near swimming pools, at beaches, water parks and lakes. This increased exposure to water coincides with an increase in the number of drownings. For this reason, it is extremely important that children are taught about water safety.

The Miami-Dade Fire Department has responded to 199 drownings since January 2007. Most of those involved children under 16 years old and 32% involved children under 5 years old. In Miami, most drowning incidents occur between 11:00am and 6:00pm peaking between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. The majority of Miami drownings and near drownings occur in the Summer months from May through August. MDFR has already responded to 11 drowning incidents just since January of 2009.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has prepared the following list of Summer Safety Tips to help keep our children safe:

• Always think of the ocean, lakes and your pool as dangerous places.
• Always directly supervise children when they are in a pool or around any body of water. Young children can drown in just a few inches of standing water. Bathtubs and large buckets also pose a threat. Most childhood drownings occur without an adult immediately present.
• Keep a phone at poolside so you don’t have to leave the kids to answer the phone and so you can call 9-1-1 immediately in case of an emergency.
• Never assume that swimming lessons or flotation devices can completely protect a child from drowning. Don’t have a false sense of security!
• Install alarms on all doors that lead into a pool area so you will know if a door to the pool has been opened.
• Secure long hair to the head, braid it, or cover it with a cap. Long hair can get suctioned into defective pool drains and vacuum lines.
• Make sure that all family members learn how to swim and what to do if they see someone in trouble in the water.
• Have your family members learn CPR. Drowning victims have a better chance of surviving if they get assistance right away.
• Know and comply with the Florida and Miami-Dade County statutes for pool fencing and pool safety. Pool fencing has been proven to save the lives of many children.
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Florida — Accidental drownings pose the single biggest threat to young children in Florida. Parents are urged to keep their children in sight at all times around water this summer. Authorities say that losing sight of your children for even a moment around water could result in disaster.

These warnings come in the wake of two drownings in residential pools in Manatee County.
In one case, a mother found her 3-year-old boy at the bottom of their backyard pool. Another discovered her 11-month-old girl floating in a pool.

According to Florida’s Department of Health, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14 in the state and the leading cause of death in children ages 1 – 4.

While Florida leads the nation in child drowning deaths, in 2006, thirty-eight drowning deaths were reported in Miami-Dade County alone. Those statistics only reflect drowning deaths. Many more people, usually children, suffer catastrophic injuries such as cerebral anoxia or hypoxia (brain damage) each year as a result of near drowning incidents.

Many people have also suffered crippling spinal cord injuries from diving into pools, lakes or canals with inadequate warnings or which were not adequately maintained.

Accidental drownings may occur in lakes, canals, oceans, swimming pools, hot tubs / spas and even in bath tubs. Many drownings occur because of defective pool pumps or drains which can result in suction entrapment or because of poorly maintained fences or gates.

The phrase “suction entrapment” refers to the situation where a bather, usually a child, becomes stuck to a pool drain and held under water by the increased suction that is created when a drain is blocked by the bather’s body, hair or clothing. The force of that suction is often strong enough to hold an adult under water; however, it is usually children who fall victim to suction entrapment. Spa and hot tub drains pose the same risk. Suction entrapment incidents are generally caused by defective pool pumps, aging, broken, loose or missing drain covers and poorly designed pools.

There are several safety tips that, if followed can help prevent accidental drownings. They include:

1). Pool fences – Four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high with self-closing and self-latching gates, should be installed around home pools and spas. Fencing should completely surround swimming pools or spas and prevent direct access from a house or yard.

2). Never leave a child unsupervised in or around any body of water, even for a moment.

3). Enroll children in swimming lessons taught by a certified instructor, but don’t assume swimming lessons make your child “drown proof.”

4). Never dive into water less than nine feet deep.

5). Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (“PFD”) or life jacket when boating, near open bodies of water or when participating in any water sports. Air-filled swimming aids, such as “water wings,” are not considered safety devices and are not substitutes for PFDs.

6). Make use of pool alarms which sound an alert when someone enters the water.
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Miami, Florida – The number of child drownings and near drownings in South Florida increases dramatically each year during the Summer. Now that school is almost out, more kids will spend a greater amount of time in and around swimming pools. That makes summer vacation one of the most dangerous times for children.

South Florida has always had one of the highest child drownings rates in the country. ”It’s the No. 1 killer of young kids in South Florida,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Eddy Ballester, speaking about accidental drownings. “We have that dubious distinction of suffering more tragedies than anywhere else in the country.”

Child drownings, however, can be prevented. Most child drownings occur in backyard swimming pools. And most of those accidents can be avoided by following a few important safety tips including:

• Teach kids how to swim or at least survive in the water.

• Use pool fences, pool alarms, self-closing and self-latching gates and alarms on doors to make sure toddlers don’t get into the pool when you aren’t watching.

• Don’t let children play near a pool without adult supervision.

• Parents should tell their kids to take breaks every so often and when they get swimming lessons, they need to practice.

”Just like a designated driver, you need to have a designated pool watcher,” Ballester said.
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Central Florida – Florida personal injury lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of John Graziano, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident last August.

The defendants – wrestling superstar, Hulk Hogan and his family. Graziano’s parents are suing Hogan under Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine” which holds the owner of an automobile vicariously responsible for the negligent operation of that vehicle.

Experienced Florida personal injury lawyers know how to use Florida’s laws to achieve substantial compensation for their seriously injured clients.

Hogan’s son, Nick Bollea, was driving a car registered in his father’s name at the time of the crash.

The August 2007 auto accident (see my post on March 13th about this crash) left Bollea’s friend, Graziano with permanent brain damage and other serious injuries that will require daily nursing care for the rest of his life.

Bollea faces charges of reckless driving involving serious bodily injury. He will be tried on these charges next month.

The Graziano family filed a lawsuit against Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), his wife Linda and son Nick, charging them with negligence.
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