16 Jun 2020

Drownings increase across Tampa Bay during Coronavirus: what the CDC wants you to know heading into the busy summer season

Posted By Darrigo & Diaz

Child practicing swim safety

Swimming safety tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy this summer

Summer has arrived, and for many of us who live in Tampa Bay, this means more time at the beach and pool.

Yet, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released new swimming safety guidelines to help keep you and your family safe and healthy this summer—especially in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Below, we’ve outlined the CDC’s recommendations.

Swimming Safety Tip 1 – Steps to prevent drowning

Since January 1, 2020, infant and child drownings have increased in Florida by 100%. The significant increase in drowning deaths is largely attributed to the fact that more people stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic. With many parents having to balance work- and home-life obligations, children who normally attended day care or school were left unattended for longer periods of time. For families with pools or access to pools, this meant more opportunities for children to wander off to the pool unsupervised.

In fact, drowning is the number one cause of injury-related deaths in children between the ages of 1 and 4. Here are several swimming safety tips from the CDC to help prevent drowning:

  • Teach toddlers and children how to swim by enrolling them in swimming lessons. Living in Tampa Bay, water is everywhere. Education and awareness is one of the best ways to prevent drowning accidents.
  • Never leave a child alone when he or she is swimming or near a body of water.
  • Learn CPR for children and adults to know how to respond to a distressed swimmer.
  • Install barriers to prevent access to the pool, such as covers, window and door alarms, and child-proof fencing.

Swimming Safety Tip 2 – Handle pool chemicals safely

If you have a backyard pool, maintaining a safe swimming environment is important. While pool chemicals, like chlorine, are needed to protect the health of swimmers, misusing these chemicals can seriously injure pool-goers. Approximately 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year are caused by pool chemical injuries, and over 35% of these injuries occur to children or teens.

For pool owners and operators, the CDC recommends the following steps to prevent pool chemical injuries:

  • Read product labels and follow all recommended-use directions.
  • Protect yourself by wearing safety equipment—like masks, gloves, and goggles—when handling pool chemicals.
  • Store pool chemicals in a secure location away from children and pets.

Swimming Safety Tip 3 – Kill germs in your pool

The first line of defense in killing germs in your pool is disinfection with pool chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine, and maintaining pH levels. When managed properly, pool chemicals will kill most germs in water within minutes.

The CDC recommends that pool owners check pool chemical levels and pH levels at least twice per day (and more often when the pool is in heavy use) to make sure they are correct:

  • 1–10 parts per million (ppm) free chlorine or 3–8 ppm bromine
  • pH 7.2–7.8 (recommendations taken from CDC website)

Improper pH levels can impede the ability of chlorine or bromine to effectively kill germs. Wrong levels can also irritate the eyes and skin of swimmers.

COVID-19 and swimming pools

The CDC maintains that there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water. However, the CDC recommends that you should limit close contact with individuals who are not members of your household both in and out of the water. Get more information about COVID-19 and water.

Darrigo & Diaz is dedicated to keeping our Tampa Bay community safe

Trust our board certified injury attorneys with over two decades of experience

Living in Tampa Bay means we are surrounded by water: swimming pools, lakes, rivers and beautiful beaches. While we are fortunate to live on the Florida coast, this area has a higher risk for drownings—especially among infants and children.

In the event your family suffers a drowning accident, swimming pool accident, or boating accident in Tampa Bay, we strongly encourage you to speak with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney Nadine Diaz, our firm has over two decades of experience representing Tampa residents who have been seriously injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence.

While most drowning-related deaths are horrible accidents, sometimes the accidents are caused by the negligence of someone else, such as a home owner or company. Though it is hard to consider legal issues after a serious injury or death by drowning, the preservation of evidence could be a vital factor in how quickly your case is resolved. It is important to get counsel at once so that all necessary legal actions are taken in a timely manner before your right to file a claim expires.

Do not wait to call us. Contact us today at (813) 774-3341 for a free consultation.

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