We’re a state of swimmers: splashing in our oceans, lakes, and pools is a cherished Florida pastime. Our state values swimming education, encouraging children to learn water survival skills at a young age through programs like YMCA’s Safe Start. And yet despite these precautions, annually in Florida “enough children to fill three or four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.” Here in Florida we have the highest drowning death rate in the nation for children under 5. Over 60% of those drownings occur in residential swimming pools. And we have more than 1 million residential pools in our state.
In Central Florida, pools outnumber alligators. When I fly back home to Orlando after a trip out of town, I’m struck by the number of pools dotting the landscape below as the plane descends over the city. So many pools, so many safety hazards.
Pools and Liability
Owning a pool is one of the most significant liabilities you’ll take on in your lifetime. If you have children, teaching them water safety at an early age is essential, both to protect them when they’re near your pool and to keep them safe when they’re near other pools. Knowing how the law relates to pools and liability is my job, but this issue strikes a personal chord as well.