“Attractive Nuisance” and Homeowners’ Responsibilities

“Attractive Nuisance” and Homeowners’ Responsibilities

With homeownership comes many responsibilities: pay your taxes, follow HOA rules, and … avoid willful harm to trespassers? That’s right. You must avoid harming trespassers, and if you discover a trespasser on your property, it’s your duty to warn him or her of any known dangers that are not open to ordinary observation. It doesn’t end there. A property owner is subject to liability for injuries suffered by a child trespasser if that child was enticed onto the property by what is called an “attractive nuisance.” Here’s how attractive nuisance is defined (1): the property owner knows or has reason to know that the place where the dangerous condition exists is one where children will likely trespass the condition is known or should be known to cause an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to a trespassing child the child because of his or her age does not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in intermeddling with it or in coming within the area made dangerous by it the burden of eliminating the danger is slight compared to the risk posed to children the property owner fails to exercise reasonable care in removing the danger or protecting the child Some examples of an attractive nuisance could be a pool, a treehouse, or a trampoline. “Homeowners insurance would cover a home pool incident, but you would still be subject to a claim if a neighbor’s child were to enter your property and get injured or lose their life in your pool if it isn’t properly fenced in, for example,” explains Orlando personal injury attorney Doug Martin. “This could also be true of a treehouse or trampoline. When a homeowner leaves a trampoline in an open area in their yard, it is appealing to children who don’t understand the dangers involved, […]

Winter Water Safety

Winter Water Safety

While water safety is important year-round, winter water safety introduces special considerations. This is especially true for families in northern areas, where snow and ice present seasonal dangers. In southern regions such as Florida, swimmers may not be deterred by the non-freezing climate and water temperatures. These individuals should ensure safety and warmth when swimming or participating in water sports during the winter months. Cold Water Safety Winter swimmers should particularly note the importance of staying warm. Swimmers should dress for the temperature of the water, not the temperature of the air. Swimmers should exit the water to warm up when cold temperatures begin to cause numbness, discomfort, or signs of bodily distress. Immersion in cold water can cause a specific set of dangers that may increase the risk of drowning. Cold water drowning is often associated with three main stages: Cold shock, which may cause involuntary gasping. Swimmers may be more likely to faint, hyperventilate, or drown before being able to calm their breathing. Swimming failure. The longer an individual is immersed in cold water, the more likely he or she is to lose the ability to move the extremities. This can result in drowning or a dangerous drop in body temperature. Hypothermia, or the condition resulting from a core body temperature drop that exceeds the required temperature for bodily functions and metabolism. If the body temperature is not quickly restored, the individual may experience confusion, cardiac arrest, unconsciousness, and eventually death. Post-rescue collapse, during which the individual experiences sudden fainting or unconsciousness after being removed from the water. Post-rescue collapse may result in death due to an abrupt failure of bodily systems. Winter Hot Tub Safety During the winter months, many individuals enjoy occasional use of a hot tub. Adults should avoid the use of alcohol or drugs […]

Kids’ Water Safety Gear

Kids’ Water Safety Gear

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accident-related death in children ages one to fourteen. This shocking statistic illustrates the need for families to practice ongoing water safety for kids. In addition to parental supervision and the implementation of water safety rules and habits, kids’ water safety gear can help prevent accidents from occurring. While this gear can be life-saving, it is important for parents and caregivers to understand that water-related accidents can still occur despite the use of kids’ water safety gear. Personal Flotation Devices Personal flotation devices come in several shapes and sizes. When selecting personal flotation devices for kids, it is important to make sure that they fit snugly and comfortably. If kids’ flotation devices do not fit properly, the device may have the opposite effect and actually become a water safety hazard for kids. Larger flotation devices should never be purchased under the intention that the child will “grow into” them. Life Jackets Life jackets for kids can play a significant role in preventing water-related accidents. The type of life jacket a child wears should depend on the swimming activity. The United States Coast Guard classifies life jackets into three main types: type I, type II, and type III. Type I life jackets are bulkier and designed to keep individuals afloat and face-up while in the water. This type of life jacket is best for offshore use, such as in the ocean during a boating trip. Type II life jackets are less bulky, but may not help to keep wearers face-up. Type III life jackets are recommended for swimming pools and other casual swimming activities. These jackets are considered flotation aids. Kids’ Swim Floats Often referred to as “floaties,” kids’ swim floats are personal flotation devices designed […]

Reporting a Boating Accident

Reporting a Boating Accident

Boating is a fun family pastime for many, especially for those who live in sunny and water-friendly states like Florida. As with any recreational activity, there is always the risk of a being involved in an accident. To protect yourself and your family, it is important to be educated and prepared in the event of a boating accident. Under certain circumstances, federal law requires that the operator or owner of the boat files a state-level boating accident report within the state where the accident occurred. In addition to filing a state boating accident report, boaters may also pursue appropriate action such as boating insurance claims or a boating accident lawsuit. Florida Boating Accident When a boating accident occurs in Florida, state law requires boaters to file a report with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement, or the local police or sheriff’s department. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission states that 704 boating accidents were reported in 2012. These reported boating accidents resulted in 55 deaths, 386 injuries, and more than $8 million in total property damage. A Florida boating accident report must be filed when at least one the following incidents occur: Death of one or more individuals Disappearance from the boat under circumstances indicating death or injury Occurrence of injury that requires more medical attention than basic first aid Damage to boats and other property totaling $2,000 or more When to File a Boat Accident Report When physical harm to individuals is not involved, boating accident reports must be filed within 10 days of the accident. However, the boating accident report must be filed within 48 hours if death occurs. The boating accident report must also be filed within 48 hours if an individual is injured to a degree that requires medical treatment […]

Swimming at a Friend’s House

Swimming at a Friend’s House

Some of the most enjoyable times in a child’s life is meeting new friends and spending time outside his or her own home. In the summer months, visiting a friend’s house to swim is a common occurrence. However, this can create a new set of concerns for parents. Pool safety is a hot-button issue that deserves special attention. A new element is added to the fact that parents cannot implement their own rules and guidelines when their child is at a friend’s house. Kids Swimming with Friends First and foremost, your child should understand the importance of pool safety when swimming at a friend’s house. This can be taught at an early age, whether or not your family has a private pool in the backyard. One of the staples of pool safety is ensuring that children are always under parental or other adult supervision. Therefore, your child should not enter a pool at a friend’s home unless accompanied by a parent or adult. Other swimming pool safety rules to teach your child include: Always swimming with a buddy so that swimming does not occur alone Enrolling the child in swimming classes to ensure comfort in the water and proper swimming techniques Staying well-nourished and hydrated in order to avoid exhaustion or fainting Walking – never running – around a pool area Avoiding pushing, shoving, jumping, and other roughhousing in or around the pool Meeting the Parents One of the best ways to understand the situation you’re sending your children into is to meet the friend’s parents. Schedule a play date where you have the opportunity to visit their home. This will allow you to gain some insight into the style of parenting applied in the home. You’ll also have a better grasp on the home environment and family dynamic. In […]

Teaching a Child to Swim

Teaching a Child to Swim

The best age for teaching a child to swim is a topic of debate among parents and child development specialists. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that formal swimming lessons begin after age four. However, swimming can be introduced to children at a much earlier age. At roughly six months old, infants develop strong head control and the ability to learn and adapt quickly. Many assert that this is a good stage to introduce being in water with very close and contained supervision. How to Teach a Child to Swim Parents should not begin teaching a child to swim until the child is developmentally ready and comfortable in and around water. It is important to encourage a gentle, fun, stress-free experience. If the experience is frightening or traumatic, the child may develop a fear of swimming. This fear may then affect proper swimming safety and techniques, which may become dangerous. Teaching a child to swim should be a gradual process for children. Basic skills such as treading water and learning to stay afloat should be mastered before moving on to harder techniques. It is recommended that children should practice learning how to swim in swimming courses provided by certified instructors. In these courses, both children and parents can learn swimming pool safety. Swimming Accident Statistics According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), children under age five compose more than 75 percent of drowning accident deaths in the United States. Furthermore, this age group represents 78 percent of swimming accident injuries in children under age 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that roughly three children die each day in drowning accidents. These statistics emphasize the importance of pool safety and the need for parents and guardians to take more active steps to prevent pool-related accidents. […]