In 2006, a young girl visiting the Wellington Community Center slipped on the deck of the 3-meter diving board overlooking the clear blue water of the pool. She fell through the railing and dropped nearly 10 feet before landing on the pool deck, sustaining a serious head injury that caused seizures. Lawsuits were filed, and in 2009, the family and Wellington Village settled the cases for $150,000, the Palm Beach Post reports.
At the advice of the Village’s insurance company, and to protect itself from future South Florida premises liability claims, the community chose to remove the board in May as the Center underwent renovations.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, recreational swimming and diving are the third most common physical activity pursued by adults in the U.S., falling only behind walking and camping as preferred pastimes. Across the board, swimming pools and diving boards hold a special allure for children who have access to more than 8 million public and private swimming pools nationwide. Swimming pool accidents in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are a common source of serious and tragic accidents, particularly among children.
It is estimated that children and families trek to aquatic environments about 360 million times annually. And with access, comes injury. From 1990 to 2006, more than 111,340 children aged 19 and younger – or about 6,500 per year – were treated in emergency rooms for diving-related injuries. At 36.3 percent, 10 to 14-year-olds comprised the largest patient population. For this age group, collision injuries with the dive board or platform resulting in lacerations to the head, neck and face, bruising, sprains and strains were most common.
Children aged 5 and younger were most likely to sustain facial injuries, while children aged 5 to 10 more commonly cut themselves. Older kids – aged 10 to 19 – were more likely to experience fractures or injure extremities. Across all age groups, as expected, a diving board injury was far more likely to occur if a kid was attempting a trick, a complex dive or a back flip.
Given the tropical climate granting year-round access to public and private swimming pools, Floridians – particularly South Floridians – are drawn to poolside activities with far more frequency than most other Americans. Whether supervised or not, Florida kids spend more time water-logged than dry which increases their exposure to both the benefits and potential hazards that come with the environment.
The West Palm Beach swimming pool accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing injury victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.