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Pool rules, awareness seek to prevent drowning in Southwest Florida

The new year brings new rules for public and semi-public swimming pools as authorities seek to reduce swimming pool accidents and drowning risk during Southwest Florida’s prime tourist season.

The attorneys and staff at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers wish everyone a safe and happy winter season but want to remind visitors and residents alike that the winter months often bring increased danger of accidental drowning.

Florida has the highest drowning rate for small children of any state in the nation. Last spring, in Cape Coral alone, five people drowned and three others were hospitalized. For children under 5, Florida drowning rate is twice the national average, with most deaths occurring in residential swimming pools.

Nationally, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14.

“I think a lot of times it’s just those few moments when a pool gate was left open or a sliding glass door was left open,” pediatrician Dr. Stan Wiggins told NBC-2 recently. Wiggins said it is especially important for grandparents to make sure their pool area is secure when children come to visit.

Pediatricians also advise parents, grandparents and care givers to learn child and infant CPR.

The new year also brings with it new laws requiring safer pool drains and systems designed to reduce the risk of entrapment. On Dec. 19, the Consumer Product Safety Commission began requiring the improvements on hotel, apartment and condo pools.

Lee County ranks fourth in the state for the highest number of residential swimming pools. In fact, the recent real estate boom brought more new residential swimming pools to Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs and the surrounding area than anywhere else in Florida.

Newer swimming pools must include certain mandatory safety features, including a pool surrounding at least 4-foot tall, self-closing and self-locking pool entries and door and window alarms between the home and pool area.

Pool owners – whether hotel, home or condo – have certain legal responsibilities.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a defective pool or has died or been seriously injured in a drowning or near-drowning, there are certain things you can do to help protect your rights.

The swimming pool attorneys and defective product and product liability lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner offer free appointments to discuss your case at any of its offices throughout Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, Sebring and Venice.