Florida Swimming Pool Accidents: What Every Floridian Needs To Know This Summer (2024)

Florida summers are hot – it’s not a surprise to those of us who have called Florida home for more than a few years. “Summer” in Florida really lasts from mid-May until October or November, and it’s scorching. Last year (2023), was the hottest on record, and this summer promises to be even hotter – many Florida cities have already broken records this year for May temperatures.

All that to say, everyone spends a lot of time in swimming pools in the summer (and the ocean, and splash pads) in order to cool off. Sadly, because there are over 1.5 million swimming pools in the state, and because of the aforementioned heat, that means a higher rate of Florida swimming pool accidents that lead to injuries and even deaths.

Here’s what you need to know if you or a loved one was involved in a Florida swimming pool accident, if you own a swimming pool, or if you plan on spending time in someone else’s swimming pool this summer (public or private!)

If you were involved in a Florida swimming pool accident:

If the accident occurred in a pool that was not your own, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries (or your children’s). Medical bills for near-drowning victims younger than 14 could cost anywhere from $10,000 to over $250,000; for near-drowning for adults, the costs aren’t much lower. If the accident results in brain damage that is permanent, the medical bills and other costs could amount to $5.5 million or more.

When the accident was the fault of the pool owner, or due to a faulty aspect of the pool that was not properly functioning, you shouldn’t have to pay those costs out of pocket, and the responsible party should be held accountable so others don’t get hurt in their pool/with their products in the future.

A Florida swimming pool accident lawyer, like us at The Florida Law Group, can help you file a claim for maximum compensation. We will fight for the full amount your case is worth and that your family deserves after such a traumatic experience.

If you own a swimming pool:

If you own a residential swimming pool in Florida, you are responsible for keeping it safe for others. That includes, even though it may seem ludicrous, children who you do not invite to your property. There is something legally known as the “attractive nuisance doctrine”, that imposes upon you a legal duty to keep your pool safe from young children who do not understand the danger of drowning. You are also liable for injuries suffered because of your pool if you should have known about the danger, but didn’t prevent it.

This means that generally, in order to both prevent Florida swimming pool accidents and protect yourself from liability, you need to do everything in your power to check and maintain your pool’s safety from any visitors. This may include taking actions such as:

  • Installing a mesh pool fence
  • Removing obstructions
  • Providing emergency safety equipment
  • Providing lifeguards, if a public pool
  • Keeping up with the latest safety regulations
  • And more.

If you plan on spending time in someone else’s swimming pool or a public swimming pool this summer:

Know the risks, and take steps to mitigate them.


The risks:

What you can do to keep your kids safe:

  • Don’t leave children unattended (and don’t assume another adult around is watching them, even a lifeguard). Don’t take your eyes off kids in the pool, stay within quick reach, and don’t leave the area. If you have to divert your attention or leave, even for a second, take your kids with you.
  • Don’t rely on floatation devices – they lull parents and kids into a false sense of security.
  • Get swim lessons: If you know that your kids will be in a pool, why not teach them lifesaving skills? There are so many swim classes (even for babies) that can give you peace of mind and reduce the risk of drowning. Florida even signed a recent law that offers free swim lessons for many families.

Pool slides and diving boards

The risks:

  • Pool slides and diving boards are a super common cause of serious injury when it comes to Florida swimming pool accidents. There’s a risk of spinal cord injuries, paraplegia, quadriplegia, facial lacerations, and death, particularly when adults or children go face first down the slide, dive incorrectly, or slip. Diving and sliding accidents combined account for more spinal cord injuries than the total number of spinal cord injuries caused from all other sports, alleges Consumer Watch.

What you can do to keep yourself and your kids safe:

  • Encourage or enforce a no diving or no sliding policy for children, or be watchful the entire time to make sure that slides and diving boards are being used correctly.
  • Use caution if you yourself are operating the diving board or slide. Never dive or slide headfirst.
  • Always be watching your children.

Suction lines and pool drains

The risks:

  • The suction power of pool drains is enormous – as high as 500 or 700 pounds of pressure – which can lead to suction entrapment. This can lead to severe injuries, including the loss of limbs. Hair, jewelry, fingers, or any other body part can get sucked in and be nearly impossible to remove in time. There are required pool grates and safety measures, but sometimes the holes in the grates are too large or are not installed properly.

What you can do to keep yourself and your kids safe:

  • Don’t let children wear long hair down in the water; tie it up before they enter the pool.
  • Make sure your children understand how important it is to stay away from drains.
  • Know how to shut down power to the pool in case of emergency.
  • Ensure that the pools you and your children will be swimming in meet the standards of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
  • Again, always be watching your children.

Slippery pool decks

The risks:

  • This risk is inherent – water from the pool will inevitably make the area around it slippery (though there are things that pool owners should do to mitigate this risk, such as installing a more slip-resistant surface.
  • Slipping and falling could lead to broken bones, cuts, and more serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. It could also lead to drowning.

What you can do to keep yourself and your kids safe:

  • Mandate and enforce a no-running policy around the pool areas
  • Be careful when walking around the pool; pay attention to what your feet are doing.

Electric shock

The risks:

  • Swimming pools have lights, pumps, heaters, and other electrical components. If any of these aren’t installed or maintained properly, electric shock could occur (which can be fatal).
  • If any loose cords fall in the water, this could also lead to electric shock.

What you can do to keep yourself and your kids safe:

  • Check the pool for any cords that should not be there, and keep any cords at least 5 feet away or more from where you and your kids swim.
  • Consider a shock alert device (can detect electricity).
  • Locate the emergency shut offs.

Pool chemicals and water safety

The risks:

  • Swimming pool chemicals are incredibly strong, and are poisonous if ingested or if they react to each other.
  • If the water is poorly maintained, it can lead to staph infections and other skin reactions.

What you can do to keep yourself and your kids safe:

  • Check the water in the pool before you enter it to ensure the quality is suitable for swimming (with pool testing strips).
  • Keep children away from pool chemicals, or move them to a dry, locked environment.

Want to know more about Florida swimming pool accidents and liability?

Contact our attorneys for a free consultation or read our blog series.

Florida Swimming Pool Accidents: What Every Floridian Needs To Know This Summer (2024)
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