According to the World Health Organization, there are about 359,000 drowning deaths annually, making drowning the third leading cause of death in the world. In the United States, about ten people die from drowning every day. Florida has a higher rate of drowning than any other state, especially among children under the age of 14.
Florida Drowning Death Statistics
For the year 2010, the rate of drowning death for children under the age of four in Florida was much higher than any other state. About 7.29 Florida children per 100,000 under the age of four were involved in fatal drowning accidents, according to the Florida Department of Health. Drowning death is the leading cause of accidental death for this age group in Florida. The rate of drowning for children under the age of fourteen was also much higher than any other state, with about 2.67 per 100,000. Altogether, about 1,145 people drowned in Florida between the years 2008 and 2010. This rate has decreased slightly since that time, with about 1,055 people drowning in Florida between the years 2011 and 2013.
Drowning Contributing Factors
Access to water is a major contributing factor to the increased number of drowning deaths in Florida, as many parts of Florida are very close to an ocean or another body of water. Florida also has more pools than any other state, giving many children direct access to a body of water at home. A lack of swimming ability is another major contributing factor to drowning, especially when combined with convenient water access.
Other main contributing factors to Florida drowning accidents include:
- Lack of barriers
- Lack of supervision
- Failure to wear life jackets
- Alcohol use
Florida Drowning Prevention Program
In 2010, the WaterproofFL program was started by the Office of Injury Prevention to prevent drowning deaths in Florida. The program emphasizes drowning prevention factors such as barriers, supervision, and emergency preparedness. The program helps public water recreational facilities institute water safety programs. The program also helps to hold these centers as well as swimming pool owners accountable for maintaining more stringent standards regarding water safety.
Duty of Care
Pool owners and the managers of public water facilities have a duty to protect against foreseeable accidents. Maintaining barriers such as fences, locks, and covers my help to prevent drowning accidents. Maintaining equipment may also help to prevent drowning accidents. When children are swimming, pool owners and public water recreation facility management must provide proper supervision. Management at hotels with pool or beach access also owe a duty of care to patrons to warn of beach risks and maintain the pool to mitigate risks. Owners of fishing charters and other water-related activities available to the public also owe a duty to protect customers from preventable hazards.
Florida Drowning Liability
The party that is held responsible for a Florida drowning death depends upon the circumstances that caused the drowning death. If a child drowns in a residential swimming pool due to a lack of barriers or supervision, the homeowner may be liable for negligence. If an individual drowns in a public pool or at a water park due to unsafe conditions, the owner may be liable. If a person drowns due to a failed flotation device, the manufacturers of the device may be liable. In some cases, there may be more than one responsible party.
Florida Drowning Lawsuits
Florida personal injury attorneys have experience with lawsuits for drowning incidents that have caused death or injuries. The Florida statute of limitations only allows victims of drowning incidents or the surviving family members of drowning incidents two years to file a lawsuit. An experienced Florida attorney can help victims or loved ones of victims file a lawsuit within the necessary timeframe. An attorney can also help victims to acquire the documentation and testimony needed to recover compensation for medical costs and other expenses related to a drowning incident, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
“Drowning Prevention.” Florida Health. Florida Department of Health. Web. 1 Nov. 2014. <http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/drowning-prevention/index.html>.
“Drowning.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Nov. 2014. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs347/en/>
“Unintentional Drowning Deaths.” Florida CHARTS Data Viewer. Florida Department of Health. Web. 1 Nov. 2014. <http://www.floridacharts.com/charts/DataViewer/DeathViewer/DeathViewer.aspx?indNumber=0105>
“Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html>