This past weekend, a 3-year-old boy, Henrique Dias Amorim, was discovered “floating” by a family member after a family gathering organized at a waterfront home that family had borrowed for the occasion. Somehow, it is believed the child found his way out to the backyard and the pool during the gathering. The responding authorities have already declared that no charges would be brought against anyone in this case, and they qualified this to be a horrific accident. Early investigation has shown that the pool in question did not have a pool fence or barrier to prevent the child from going inside the pool. It is unclear as of yet whether the home should have been equipped with such protection.
Recently, Leesfield Scolaro filed a lawsuit in another tragic drowning case, to another little boy who was found in the pool by his grandfather, despite the pool being equipped with a pool fence. In their lawsuits, Ira Leesfield and Tom Scolaro have alleged that the pool fence manufacturer was liable and responsible for the incident due to numerous significant defects in the pool fence manufacturer’s product. Thankfully, the child survived, but not before he sustained catastrophic brain damage, for which he will require medical care the rest of his life.
The state of Florida has staggering statistics when it comes to fatalities of young children and pool drownings. According to Florida Health, Florida loses more children under age five to drowning than any other state. Annually in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.
Florida overwhelmingly has the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation for the 1-4 year old age group, with a drowning rate of 7.29 per 100,000 population. Florida also had the highest drowning number and rate in the nation for the 1-14 population in 2010 with a drowning rate of 2.67 per 100,000 population. In 2013, 63 children aged between 1 and 4 died of drowning in the State of Florida. Death by drowning remains a grave concern until a child reaches the age of 10 where drowning suddenly drops to the 5th leading cause of death, behind motor vehicle accidents, suffocation, firearm, and other means of transportation.
These numbers have remained quite the same for decades, and in 2000, a new law was passed to try to save lives. Unfortunately they have not been extremely successful to date. Florida law makes it mandatory for all outdoor swimming pools to have a 4-foot fence or other barrier around the pool. Entry through the fence and to the pool must open outward and have a self-closing and self-locking device that is beyond a child’s reach.