Category Archives: Child Accidents

Important Toy Safety Tips This Holiday Season

While wandering the toy aisles of your favorite store to find your favorite children the perfect holiday gift is a great way to choose what to put under the tree, it is important to remember to keep them safe.


IN 2020, THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) REPORTED THAT THERE WERE NINE DEATHS AND MORE THAN 149,000 TOY-RELATED INJURIES THAT WERE TREATED AT AN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.


What can you do to prevent the children in your life from ending up at the emergency department or wrongful death?

Shop Smart.

Always choose toys that are age-appropriate — that means making sure that the toys you put under the tree this year match the interests and abilities of the child. Don’t buy a toy with small parts for small children to avoid choking hazards and follow the labels on the packaging.

Watch Magnets.

Magnetic toys must adhere to a strong safety standard that prevents swallowing. But high-powered magnet sets that have small magnets are dangerous for kids. Keep building and playsets with small magnets out of the reach of small children.

Beware of Batteries.

Button batteries and lithium coin batteries (small, shiny round batteries) can cause serious injury if stuck in a child’s ear or nose or swallowed. Make sure that the battery compartments of all toys are secure and taped shut.

Toss Old Balloons.

Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8. Discard torn balloons immediately.

Keep Toys With Small Parts Away From Babies And Toddlers.

For children younger than age 3, avoid small balls and toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Also, stay away from toys with sharp edges away and toys with long strings, loose ribbons, or cords that could get wrapped around a child’s neck.

Avoid Flying Toys.

These can injure eyes in particular. Arrows or darts should have rubber suction cups or other protective tips to prevent injury.

When Shopping For Infants And Toddlers, Buy Toys That Are Larger Than The Child’s Mouth.

This will help prevent choking. If a toy is large enough but has smaller parts that could break off, do not give it to a young child. For example, a large stuffed bear may have beaded eyes that could fall off.

The CPSC reported that nearly 8% of all emergency department-treated injuries came from toy balls. While toy balls can make a great gift, it is important to remember that when you give small children (especially under the age of three) small toys, it creates a significant choking hazard.

Watch that younger kids aren’t playing with toys designed for older kids. Even if toddlers get upset after being told they can’t play with the same toys as their older sibling or cousin, it is better to play it safe.

RECALLS!

When shopping for toys this year, always make sure to check for recalls. The CPSC offers an easy way to search for product recalls here (www.cpsc.gov/recalls,). You can also look on safekids.org for a list of recalls.

Have Hand-Me-Downs Or Other Older Toys?

Although some of these toys may hold sentimental value, be careful before giving them to children. Older toys may not adhere to today’s safety standards. Toys like “Ralphie’s BB gun” from “A Christmas Story,” followed more lenient rules compared to toys made today.

Safety Gear.

While gifting a helmet may not seem like the most exciting present this year, it is one of the most important ones. Making sure that your child has a properly fitting helmet before getting on their new scooter, bike, or toy vehicle is crucial to keeping them safe this year.

Supervision Is Key.

The holidays can be exhausting, but always make sure to keep an eye on children while they are playing. Some of the most dangerous situations occur when a toy malfunctions or breaks, and it is important to be able to recognize the hazard as soon as it happens. If you notice that a toy seems to be dangerous, immediately take the toy and keep it in a safe place away from your child.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If your child has been injured due to a defective toy, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2021/11/holiday-toy-safety/

https://www.safekids.org

https://www.cpsc.gov

 

 

Smart Road Tips for Halloween Safety

Tips for Halloween Safety By Consumer Reports.

There may be fewer ghosts, witches, and superheroes wandering along the roads this Halloween looking for candy and treat because of COVID-19 concerns, but it’s important that drivers remain vigilant and keep an eye out for costumed children darting into the road, crossing parking lots, or strolling along the streets.

The scary reality is that Halloween has been one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, especially children, statistics show.


THE RISK OF A PEDESTRIAN FATALITY WAS 43 % HIGHER ON HALLOWEEN


The risk of a pedestrian fatality was 43 percent higher on Halloween, based on a comprehensive study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that analyzed 42 years of data.

“Halloween night is like a ‘perfect storm’ of risk because it involves darkness, a huge increase in pedestrian traffic—especially children—and all sorts of distractions,” says Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. “Everyone needs to be ultracareful to not turn such a fun evening into tragedy.” 

About half of traffic deaths overall occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Driving at night is three times as risky as driving during the day,” says Matthew Brumbelow, a senior research engineer at the IIHS. The holiday should also serve as a reminder to motorists and pedestrians alike about the dangers.

The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 6,205 pedestrians died in traffic collisions in 2019.

Fortunately, there are clear steps that trick-or-treaters and drivers can take to improve safety for all. Below are tips from CR experts and NHTSA.

Tips for Trick-or-Treaters

  • Parents should accompany children younger than 12.
  • Children should walk—not run—from house to house.
  • Children should stay on sidewalks instead of walking between cars or on lawns, where there could be tripping hazards.
  • Parents should remind children to look for cars when crossing driveways.
  • Pedestrians shouldn’t assume they have the right of way, because motorists may not see them.
  • Go trick-or-treating before it is truly dark, especially with young children.
  • Parents and children should consider choosing costumes that are lighter in color, which makes it easier for drivers to see them. Adding reflective material to the front and back makes a costume easier to pick out. It can even be built into the design.
  • Avoid costumes that make it more difficult for a child to see, especially ones that include costume masks. Of course, because of the pandemic, children and chaperones should wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth, and they should practice social distancing.
  • Give children a flashlight to walk in the dark, so they can be more easily seen by drivers. Glow sticks can help, too.
  • Kids should keep their phones in their pockets unless taking photos on a porch. Walking with a device risks the child not being aware of their surroundings.

Tips for Drivers

  • Drive slowly in and around neighborhoods and on residential  streets, even if you don’t see trick-or-treaters around.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Drunk driving incidents increase on Halloween. NHTSA reports that 41 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2014 to 2018 were in crashes involving drunk driving. About one-third of all crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers, according to NHTSA.
  • Watch for children who may dart out into the street, and always yield to pedestrians. If you see one child, there are likely to be more ready to cross.
  • If you’re driving children around for trick-or-treating, make sure they’ve buckled up appropriately in a child car seat or with a seat belt. Make sure they buckle up each time they enter the car and check to make sure they’re secure before you drive to the next stop.
  • Parents transporting kids for Halloween activities may be tempted to buckle them in wearing their costumes. But some costumes may have added padding or hard surfaces that will make it difficult for the car-seat harness or vehicle seat belt to properly fit the child. Consumer Reports advises buying or making costumes without padding or hard surfaces or having your child change into their costume after arriving at their destination.
  • Pullover at safe locations to let children exit at the curb and away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your car.
  • Try to park in a spot where you won’t need to back up. But if you must, have an adult outside to make sure no children are in the way of your vehicle when you do.
  • Don’t use a cell phone or other mobile device while driving. Pullover safely to check voice messages or texts, if necessary.

By being cautious and mindful of safety this Halloween, you can make sure the holiday is a treat for all.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Parents And The Art Of Car Seat Safety

By: Hannah Domoslay-Paul
(Contributing writer for Pensacola Mom Collective)

Protecting The Smallest Members Of Our Families As We Travel Through Our Day-To-Day Lives.

As the mom of six, I cannot even begin to fathom the number of times I have needed to install a car seat and then buckle our children in to go somewhere. Our family travels have taken us near and far, from the quick trip to the store or school drop-off all the way up to a 7,000-mile road trip that we braved this past summer and pretty much everything in between.

A Mom’s Real Life Perspective On Safety.

Over the last 14.5 years, we have owned a grand total of 13 car seats (infant carriers, all-in-one convertible seats, and boosters), and while colors, patterns, and styles change, the number one factor purchasing each and everyone is this: Will it keep our children safe?


IN 2019, 608 CHILD PASSENGERS TRAGICALLY DIED IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS, MORE THAN 91,000 INJURED, AND OF THOSE WITH FATAL INJURIES, OVER 38% DID NOT GET BUCKLED UP IN A CAR SEAT.


While almost all parents engage in the well-meaning act of purchasing a car seat, we often fail when it comes time to install the car seats in our vehicles correctly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that almost 50% of car seats end up improperly installed in the United States. One sure-fire way to guarantee your seat is correctly installed and your child is traveling as safely as possible is to visit a car seat inspection station near you.

You can quickly access links to local sites by visiting the NHTSA website and searching with your zip code. If there is no location near you, Safe Kids Worldwide is also an excellent service that can connect you with techs, and some technicians allow you to schedule virtual visits.

What Car Seat Is Right For The Age Of Your Child?

Knowing what car seat is right for the age of your child is just as important as knowing how to install it properly, so here are a few quick tips to help you find the right seat:

  • Rear-Facing Through Age 2: Children should stay rear-facing for as long as possible; through age two is what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. The NHTSA even suggests keeping your child in their rear-facing seat until they reach the height and weight limits. One-third of the United States have passed laws requiring rear-facing through two and infant carriers, all-in-one car seats, and convertible car seats all fit the bill for rear-facing.
  • Different Types of Booster Seats – there are also many booster seats available, with the most common being either toddler, high-back, or standard boosters. Toddler booster seats typically have a five-point harness for use until the child reaches a certain height. High-back boosters help with proper seat belt positioning. Standard boosters are suitable for older children who do not yet meet the height requirements for seat belt positioning.
  • How Much Space Does Your Vehicle Have?  I recently had a friend discover, much to her chagrin, that the car seats she purchased for her twins would not fit in their vehicle. Having six many children myself, I discovered that the only seats I could fit properly with my vehicle’s seating configuration needed to be narrow, like those made by Diono.
  • How Long Does This Seat Last? Car seats, just like canned goods, have expiration dates, and if you are planning on buying a seat to last you through multiple children, one major factor in the difference in length of seat usage is construction. The more steel used in construction, the longer you have that seat because plastic degrades over time. Expiration dates on seats usually run between 6 – 10 years, and the information is contained on the seat label with the model and serial number.
  • Too Many Options, Too Many Choices.  Still looking for more help to pick the right seat for your family? Check out the NHTSA Car Seats and Booster Seat page, and you’ll find everything from support for selecting the right seat to a link to register the seat you ultimately choose for important safety recall updates and information.

Safe Buckling Practices

Finally, our responsibilities to the children in our lives cover so many facets and areas of daily living and sometimes we become complacent in certain areas.  One area to always making sure our children are buckled in properly to the car seat we ultimately chose. Please remember:

  • Is my child within the weight and height guidelines for this seat?  If your child is too small or too large for a seat, they can be at risk of injury in an accident.
  • Do I have the harness straps in the correct location?  It’s essential to read which position is suitable for your child’s current age and seat position. Harness straps should be just between or below the shoulders if rear-facing and just at or above shoulder height in a forward-facing car seat.
  • Is the chest clip in the correct position?  Ohhh, the chest clip, the first buckle my children mastered, and long the bane of my existence. Proper chest clip placement is paramount and can keep your child from being ejected from their seat in case of an accident. In many manuals, the chest clip, often referred to as a harness retainer clip should be positioned level across the sternum, approximately at armpit level on your child.
  • Is my child wearing unnecessary clothing or have I placed extra items in my child’s car seat?  The AAP again issues some sound guidance on the safety of any items that go over a car seat, beneath children and their car seat, and between their bodies and the safety harness. Heavy coats in the cold months are often talked about the most in this category. Still, it is essential to understand that replacement seat covers, head supports, and harness covers that do not come from the manufacturer often have the most potential for danger. They have not undergone testing for safety standards in crashes and the wisdom is that a product on the shelf for sale does not make it safe. Stretchy cap style covers that go over seats are not discouraged in the same way but always choosing one with adequate ventilation and openings over the child’s face is key to safe use.

The variety of car seats for sale shows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for families. A properly installed seat, that a child has been correctly buckled in to, is what is safest to protect all small children.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

 

Sources:
https://portalskcms.cyzap.net/dzapps/dbzap.bin/apps/assess/webmembers/secure/manage?webid=SKCMS&pToolCode=CERT-SEARCH&pAdd=Yes

https://www.nhtsa.gov

https://www.aap.org

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#find-the-right-car-seat-car-seat-recommendations

 

About Hannah Domoslay-Paul
(Contributing writer for Pensacola Mom Collective)

Hannah was born and raised in West Michigan and made the move to Pensacola in 2015 with her oldest four boys after being widowed. Now remarried and with two more lovely children added to the family, a girl and boy, she spends her days trying to keep it together, usually with duct tape and ingenuity. During her daily hours spent serving as a taxi driver she often muses about how lost the world would be without moms and wonders if she’ll ever go a week without playing a game of “What’s That Smell” around her house and car. Hannah is an adult with ADHD, the daughter of an alcoholic, and the survivor of child abuse who doesn’t have too many off limits topics. She is a lover of books, sarcastic humor, and old houses and all three come in handy as she constantly works on projects in and around her 1866 Folk Victorian.

Who Pays For Medical Treatment If My Child Is Injured At School?

School InjuriesAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 20,000 children experience traumatic brain injuries, with many of the accidents that cause these injuries happening at school.


ADDITIONALLY, MORE THAN NINE MILLION CHILDREN GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM EACH YEAR, WITH MANY OF THESE INJURIES RELATED TO FALL ACCIDENTS.


Common Causes of School Injuries

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Playground injuries
  • Fighting

It’s a phone call every parent dreads—the call from their child’s teacher or principal saying that their child has been injured at school. The possibilities are nearly endless. Accidents can happen on the bus, in the classroom, on the playground, or in P.E.  It is easy to panic in this situation. However, it is important to preserve your and your children’s rights if they are injured at school. 

Below, we answer some of the more common questions that our clients have when their kids are hurt while at school. 

Tend To Your Child

The first step is obvious: tend to your child. Assess the severity of the injury. Is it something that can be taken care of with first aid, or is it serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or even the Emergency Room? 

Get Information About The Incident

– What happened

– Where and when the injury took place (During school hours? On school property? On a field trip?)

– Who was present at the time of the injury

– What actions were taken to help your child

– If any other children were involved

Many injuries may appear to be no big deal at first, but if they progress and cost you in the long run, you will want to have all of the details documented as soon as possible.

Hire A Lawyer

If the injury is severe enough, or treatment is costly enough, the next step is to hire a lawyer to represent you and your child’s interests. The school district has legal and risk management teams ready to help defend them the second a potential claim arises, so it’s important to fight fire with fire and hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. 

Common Types Of Injuries Sustained At School

The type of injury will largely depend on where and how the injury occurred. The most common injuries sustained on school grounds include:

– Cuts, scrapes, and bruises

– Sprains and strains

– Broken bones

– Head injuries

– Neck and back injuries

– Brain injury or trauma

– Dislocations

– Black eyes

– Emotional and/or psychological injuries

The Process of Bringing A Case Against A School

My Child was Injured In The School PensacolaOnce hired, your lawyer will navigate the treacherous waters of making a claim against the government. Suing the school district is not like suing anyone else. The government has put hurdles in front of anyone that wishes to sue it.

First, a successful claimant must send what’s called a “claim letter” to the agency they wish to sue within 3 years of the injury. They must also send a copy of this letter to the Florida Department of Financial Services. This requirement is separate and apart from the statute of limitations, which is generally 4 years for a personal injury. 

Once the claimant has sent a claim letter, the government has 6 months to respond to the claim. The government rarely does so, and the claimant must usually file suit to have the possibility of any recovery. Once in suit, the plaintiff is usually prevented by law from recovering more than $200,000 to $300,000 in damages, depending on the circumstances. If the plaintiff wants to recover more, he or she usually has to petition the Legislature to make up the difference. 

Zarzaur Law has the necessary experience to maximize your recovery against the government. Two of three of the attorneys at Zarzaur Law are board-certified as Specialists in Civil Trial—a certification only held by 1% of lawyers statewide. The lawyers at Zarzaur Law have handled many claims against school districts for injuries as diverse as car wrecks, sexual abuse, and injuries caused by school bullies. Since every plaintiff’s law firm works under the same “no fee unless you win” structure, there is no reason not to hire a specialist. 

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2021/02/experts-advise-what-to-do-if-your-child-is-injured-at-school/

https://www.enjuris.com/children-accidents/injured-at-school.html

Accidental Child Drownings And The Florida Residential Pool Safety Act

“Accidental Child Drownings and Pool Safety Act in Florida.”

Many homeowners in Florida utilize websites like VRBO and AIRBNB to list their properties for short-term rental.  There are, however, some serious safety issues related to such properties that have pools which could easily expose the homeowner to liability if a guest is injured or is killed because of accidental drowning.

The laws regulating pools in Florida are mainly categorized as residential or public.  This distinction is important since depending upon the pools’ classification, certain laws will and will not apply.

What is a Public Lodging Establishment?

A home listed on Airbnb may be considered a “public lodging establishment” if it is a “vacation rental.” Florida Statute § 509.242 (b) defines a vacation rental as “any unit or group of units in . . . any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment.” A “transient public lodging establishment” is defined as “any unit . . . dwelling . . . within a single complex of buildings which is rented to guests for periods of at least 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 509.013 (1).

Many of the home share properties in Florida will likely fall into the classification of a vacation rental given its transient use and its advertisement to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.

Though many of these properties would most likely be classified as a “public lodging establishment,” a short-term vacation rental’s pool would be considered a residential pool; thus, it would be subject to the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (“Act”).

A public swimming pool is defined as a pool that may be accessed with or without a fee and includes, but is not limited to, pools operated by public entities or pools which serve camps, churches, daycare centers, group home facilities of eight or more clients, or the cooperative living projects of five or more living units, such as apartments and hotels. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 514.011 (2).


FROM 2017 TO 2019 COMBINED, FLORIDA WAS RANKED THE HIGHEST IN THE U.S. FOR UNINTENTIONAL DROWNING DEATH RATE AMONG CHILDREN AGES 1 TO 4 YEARS (6.29 PER 100,000 POPULATION).


What is Considered a Residential/Private Pool?

This understanding is further confirmed by the Act’s definition of “residential,” which defines the term as a one-family or two-family dwelling. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.25 (10). A vacation rental home would likely be considered a single-family dwelling. Further, a residence’s pool would fit into the 514.011’s (Florida Statute) definition of a private pool. A “private pool” is defined by this Florida Statute as one which is used “only by an individual, family, or living unit members and their guests which does not serve any type of cooperative housing or joint tenancy of five or more living units.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 514.011 (3). During a rental term, a vacation rental’s pool is used only by an individual, family, or other temporary members of that living unit and is not open to the public or any non-guests of the tenants. The determining factor on the classification of a pool that serves dwelling units seems to turn on the number of units within the complex. If a vacation rental’s pool serves a single dwelling unit, it would likely be considered a private pool.

Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act

Under Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act, a residential (including those used in any home share program) pool must be equipped with certain safety features. To pass a final inspection, a residential pool must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. The pool must be equipped with an approved safety cover
  2. All doors and windows which provide access to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor
  3. The pool must contain an independently certified alarm that sounds upon detection of accidental or unauthorized access to the pool.
  4. Pools must be protected by a barrier

Pool Barrier Requirements

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.27

(1). Further, pools must be protected by a barrier. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.29

(2). Barriers must be at least four feet high without any gaps, openings, or other components which would allow a young child to circumvent the barrier. Id. A barrier must be placed “sufficiently away” from the water’s edge to prevent someone from immediately falling into the pool if they penetrated the barrier. Id. If a gate is used to provide access to a pool, it must be self-closing, self-latching, open outwards, and its release mechanism must not be placed in a manner of which a young child can operate it. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.29

(3). Barriers may not be placed in such a way that allows an extrinsic object to be used to climb over it. Id. A dwelling (part of the house) wall may serve as part of a barrier so long as it does not contain a door or window that would allow access to the pool. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 515.29

(4). If the dwelling barrier wall has windows, the windows must be equipped with an acceptable alarm, be screened, or protected and have a bottom sill height of 48 inches or more, or the pool must have the detection alarm. Fla. Bldg. Code R4501.17.1.9. Barrier wall doors would have to be self-closing and contain a self-latching mechanism at least 54 inches above the threshold or the pool must have a detection alarm system. Id.

Public Pool Requirements

There seems to be a little distinction among public and residential pools regarding safety requirements to prevent drownings. Public pools must contain the following safety features:

  1. An anti-entrapment system or a similar approved device
  2. A shepherd’s hook within 16 feet of the pool
  3. At least one 18-inch diameter lifesaving ring with enough rope to reach all parts of the pool from the pool deck.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 514.0315; Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 64E-9.00.

In sum, any home-share rental unit’s pool would likely be subject to the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act and not be considered a public pool. These two pool classifications have few distinctions relevant to the instant case with the public pools requiring lifesaving devices and devices to prevent persons from being entrapped by drains.

Many home share properties are not in compliance with Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Act but despite this place their homes on the market.  Many times, these homes are seeking out tourists who are unfamiliar with pool safety and who are traveling with young children.

Protecting these young children was the reason the Florida Legislature passed the residential pool safety act and homeowners should make certain their pools are in compliance with the Act.

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur  >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been affected by any homeowner’s failure to comply with this act, put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/drowning-prevention/index.html

Florida statute – http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0515/0515.html

Hot Car Deaths and How to Avoid Them

In both 2018 and 2019, 53 children died in hot cars. These are the deadliest years on record in the past 20 years. Since 1998, almost 900 children have died from vehicular heatstroke; 24% of incidents occurred while a parent or caregiver was at a place of work.

Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these preventable deaths.

Causes Of Vehicular Heat Stroke

from NHTSA –

  • Most heatstroke cases stem from a caregiver forgetting about a child in the back seat.
  • Child gaining access to vehicle independently
  • Child is left intentionally in the car by a caregiver

Most cases stem from a caregiver forgetting about a child, and most occur on Thursdays and Fridays, then end of the workweek.

Rapid Increase Of Heat In A Car

On a day when is it is 75 outside, it only takes 25 minutes for temperatures in a vehicle to exceed 100 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Window Or Parking In The Shade Will Not Prevent Heat Stroke

Studies done show that even cars parked in a shady area can generate dangerous interior heat.

How To Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Several car manufacturers are stepping up in response to these deaths.

  • GM now has a “rear seat reminder” that lets a driver know when a rear door is opened.
  • Nissan has a rear door alert that detects when a rear door is opened before a trip and not opened again when the trip is completed. This gives the driver an alert to check the back seat.
  • Other manufacturers have integrated motion sensors to ensure all passengers make it safely out of the car. If a motion is detected after a car is locked, the car will honk its horn to attract attention and notify the owner via email or text.

Hot Car Act

Consumer Reports and other safety organizations are lobbying Congress to pass a “Hot Car Act” which will require manufacturers to incorporate safety technology in newer models.

What You Can Do

  • Simply affixing a note on the front dash can help.
  • Also, never leave a child alone in the car, even for an instant as their core body heat can rise so quickly.
  • Always lock your doors when not using the car.

What To Do If You See A Child Alone In A Vehicle

  • Make sure the child is responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents.
  • If the child appears to be in distress attempt to get in the car, even if it means breaking a window.

Most states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits in such attempted rescues.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/hot-car-safety/

https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/florida-ranks-no-2-nation-child-hot-car-deaths/RITX4ACZJBD3PDV2QLCROTTSWI/

Hot Car Deaths

https://www.nhtsa.gov/child-safety/you-can-help-prevent-hot-car-deaths

Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney

What is Different When Car Wrecks Involve Children?

car wrecks that involves children

 

Car wrecks involving children are happening every day. They and their parents incur medical bills, and they often have serious, painful, and permanent injuries.

They may require substantial future medical care. In other words, their injuries may be the same as an adult, but the legal case for the injury of a child is much different.

Definition Of A Child

Under Florida law, a child is anyone under the age of 18 who has never been married or legally emancipated. This is common in most states. A person under the age of 18 cannot legally enter into a contract and cannot file a lawsuit in their own name. Most of the time a parent or other legal guardian must be responsible for their affairs, including their injury claims.

If a child is injured and the claim cannot be settled without filing suit, the suit must be filed by a parent, a legal guardian, or a court-appointed guardian if the circumstances require it. Similarly, the settlement documents for a claim must be signed by an adult or guardian.

Settling A Case For A Child

There are very specific rules for settling a personal injury or car wrecks involving children. The rules were enacted for the protection of the child and his or her financial interests. There is a sliding scale of rules that depend on the amount of the settlement.

If A Case Is Settled For Under $15,000 There Are No Special Rules And Court Approval Is Not Required.

The parent or guardian can sign the release presented by the insurance company, and there are generally no restrictions on the use of the net settlement funds.

While court approval is not required for such smaller settlements, the parent or guardian can petition the court for approval. If the claim goes to court, the settlement must be approved by the trial court judge.

For Larger Settlements, The Rules Are Different. 

1. If the total, not net amount, of the settlement, exceeds $15,000, there must be a case filed in the probate division of the county where the minor lives.

2. For cases where the gross settlement is greater than $15,000 but less than $50,000, the court may appoint a guardian to handle the funds for the child. Usually, the guardian is the parent or legal guardian of the minor. These are fairly routine proceedings.

3. If the gross amount of the settlement is $50,000 or greater, then the court must appoint guardian ad litem to review the settlement. These guardians are often local lawyers who are familiar with such issues. They have an obligation to review the settlement and give guidance to the court about whether it is reasonable.

In all cases, the primary interest is that of the child, not the parents. The purpose of the rules is to make sure the funds are properly used/invested for the benefit of the child and preserved until the minor becomes an adult. The court has very broad powers to preserve the interest of the child.

While the cost of the court approval process can be substantial, insurance companies or settling parties often agree to pay the costs and fees associated with this. You should always attempt to get an agreement for this in order to preserve as much as possible for the child.

Wrongful Death Claims

If a child is killed in a car crash, a wrongful death claim may be filed. In Florida, such claims are governed by the Florida Wrongful Death statute, this is a very complicated area of the law and requires the expertise of an experienced trial lawyer.

These claims must be brought a court-appointed personal representation. In such cases, the parents of a minor child can recover from mental pain and suffering. They can also recover for medical expenses and other monetary costs associated with the injury and treatment of the injuries that led to death.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations for the death of a minor child is 2 years from the date of the death, in other words, the surviving parties much settle the claim or file suit within 2 years of the death, or it will be barred.

While the normal statute of limitations for injuries is 4 years from the date of the incident, there are special rules that extend the statute for minors.

If a child is a minor at the time of the incident, they may wait until they turn 18 to file suit. However, the absolute limitation to file such a claim is 7 years, regardless of when the child turns 18.

For example: If a child is 10 years old when injured, the case must be filed within 7 years, even though the child does not turn 18 during that period. This is a very complicated area of Florida law and requires the expertise and experience of a civil trial expert.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or your child have been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-parental-responsibility-laws.html

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer | Car Accident Attorney | Zarzaur Law

What You Need to Know Before Choosing a Daycare in Florida.

Our children are the most important thing in our lives, and we are programmed to protect them from harm as job number one. When both parents are employed full time there is often a struggle with the idea of locating and screening a good daycare. This can be a daunting task for parents and downright frightful thinking of entrusting your child with someone you do not really know.

From our perspective as a personal injury law firm, this process is one that should be guided by the accumulation of as much information as possible before entrusting your child in the care of any other person. It is necessary to first discuss the different types of Florida daycare operations since there is more than one type of daycare facility and they are treated very differently by the law.

Florida Daycare Laws – Home Daycare vs Facility Daycare

Florida daycare laws differentiate between “home” daycares and “facility” daycare businesses. Generally, the Florida daycare law is less strict with the “home” daycare operations but requires that they remain a true “home” daycare for them to take advantage of the more liberal policies. A family home daycare must restrict its services to a maximum of 4 children under one year, a maximum of 3 children under one if they have other children, a maximum of 6 if all are over 1 year old, and a maximum of 10 so long as only 2 or under 12 months.

Large Family “Home” Daycare

Florida daycare law also recognizes a “large” family daycare category. These “large” family home daycare businesses may offer services to a maximum of 8 children under 24 months of age and a maximum of 12 children so long as not more than 4 are under 24 months of age.

Daycare is not eligible to become a “large” family home daycare in Florida until they have operated as a home daycare for two consecutive years with an operator who has had a child development credential or its equivalent, verified on the Department’s training transcript, for one year. The two consecutive years of operation as a family daycare must have been within 5 years of the date of the application to operate a large family childcare home.

Florida home daycare law also has strict provisions for banning corporal punishment and each home should have written disciplinary and expulsion policies available for inspection by parents, they also must have written policies and procedures to identify and prevent shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma. The policy and procedures must require completion of safe sleep training by childcare personnel. Section 402.305(12) Florida Statutes.

Large family day care homes must have even more written policies. They must have a plan of activities posted in a conspicuous place and available for parents. This is in addition to those policies and procedures required for smaller Florida Home daycare businesses.

Daycare Staffing

As far as staffing, operators must be at least 18 years old and must live in the home where the daycare is being run. The operator may not work outside the home during the hours that the daycare is operating. Large family daycare home operators must be at least 21 years of age. Each facility should have a written plan for a substitute operator containing that person’s name, address, and telephone number. The operator must document the number of hours the substitute works in the home on a monthly basis. This substitute should not exceed 40 hours per month.

All employees and (members of the household) must pass level 1 background checks by the Department of Child and Families. All employees must be re-screened every 5 years.

Florida Home Daycares Not Required to Have Insurance

What is also important for parents is to know that these Florida home daycare businesses are not required to have insurance for the conduct of their staff. This means that if they injure your child negligently, there will be no recourse from a financial perspective.

Child Care Facilities

The next level of Florida daycare center is called a “child care facility”. These facilities are defined by Florida law as any child care center or child care arrangement which provides child care for more than five children unrelated to the operator and which receives a payment, fee, or grant for any of the children receiving care, wherever operated, and whether or not operated for profit.” Florida Statutes Section 402.302(2).

Child Care Center Credentials and Requirements

All child care center operators must have director credentials and all employees must have Florida child care staffing credentials. These credentials require more than 40 hours of training and education in the area of child care. They must have annual in-service training and all other requirements discussed at the home level are made more stringent at the facility level.

Staff to Child Ratios

The staff to child ratios for facilities are based upon the age of the child and goes from 1 staff member for every 4 children for those facilities caring for children under 1 year,1 staff member for each 6 child under 2 years old, 1 staff member for every 15 children for children under 3 years old, 1 staff member for every 20 children for those 4 years old, and 1 staff member for every 20 children for children age 5 or older.

For mixed age groups where children under 1 year old are included, 1 staff member shall be responsible for no more than 6 children for each age group.

Again, these facilities must also make available all policies and procedures related to the schedule of events each day. Further, a clear and written discipline and expulsion plan should also be made available for inspection by any parent.

Zarzaur Law, P.A. handles many injuries and unfortunately some tragic death cases involving daycare centers. Some occur in-home daycare and some injuries occur in larger facilities. We urge parents to check everything about any prospective daycare and make themselves familiar with the requirements discussed here. The daycare should address these concerns in a professional manner and if they do not, perhaps this business is not their main interest.

You cannot rely on the State of Florida to do this checking, you as parents have to do your own due diligence in checking out these facilities.

If you have further questions about Florida Daycare Law or if you family has suffered an injury or loss from a Florida daycare business and need legal advice, feel free to contact us on the web at ZarzaurLaw.com or call us at 855hirejoe.

Helpful Links:

https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/child_injury_data.html

Daycare Injuries: What Are Your Legal Rights

https://www.daycare.com/florida/

https://www.daycare.com/florida/florida_registered_family_daycare_home_provider.html

Choosing Quality Child Care

https://www.myflfamilies.com

https://www.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/one-pager_-_child_fatalities_and_severe_injuries_-_june_2014.pdf

FLORIDA APPELLATE COURT ALLOWS FOR WAIVER AT TRAMPOLINE PARK SIGNED BY 13 YEAR OLD TO BAR FAMILY FROM FILING SUIT FOR NEGLIGENCE OF PARK


Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals recently held that a 13 year old customer of a trampoline park that fraudulently signed his parent’s name on a waiver at the park was prohibited from arguing that the document was void based upon his status as a minor. The Court held that since the 13 year old was acting fraudulently his family could not take advantage of his “infancy” to get out of the waiver form.

WAIVERS OF LIABILITY

As most parents understand, when you allow your kids to participate in activities like those at trampoline parks or water parks, you are routinely asked to review and sign waiver of liability forms. Many of these businesses, like the trampoline park in this case, have ways to review these waiver forms on your phone or via a kiosk at the business. These waivers usually severely limit the liability of the business even if the company or its employees are negligent. As you can imagine, serious injuries can occur at these activity parks and many of them are caused by the negligence of the park. However, these waiver agreements are commonly upheld by Florida courts and either limit recovery, waive your right to the court system, or both.


In the last few years, emergency room visits caused by trampoline park injuries has skyrocketed. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the numbers have shot up from 2,500 in 2013 to almost 18,000 in 2017.


FRAUDULENT ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES FOR MINOR CHILD

In the case recently decided by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, the child’s family was arguing that their 13 year old son did not have their permission to go to the park and that the park should be paying more attention and realize when a minor fills out a form with a parent signature that is not with him. The appellate court disagreed and held that since the 13 year old planned this visit out and used a real driver’s license number for a family member, he was acting fraudulently and it would be unfair to allow his family to take advantage of this fraudulent conduct.

COURT’S RULING

The family argued that the park should have been more aware of minors using their parents information especially when making kiosks available. The court rejected this argument stating it is unreasonable to expect the business to watch these kiosks that closely. The takeaway from this case is clear, if the court has evidence that the minor planned out, in a fraudulent manner, to use an adult’s driver’s license and date of birth and does so, that can amount to fraud and if so, fraud dissipates the incapacity of a minor to sign an effective contract. Basically, the court concludes if they are old enough to commit fraud they are old enough to suffer the consequences of the contract they are signing. This is not a great case for public safety since the loser in this are kids that are not capable of understanding the true lifelong effects that their injuries at these parks could bring about.

If you or a loved one is serious injured at any activity park, water park, or any other business that requires the signing of a waiver and you have legal questions, please feel free to contact us at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HIREjoe.

Sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trampoline-parks-rising-in-popularity-expert-warns-of-catastrophic-injuries/

https://www.4dca.org

Trampoline Injuries and Statistics 2020 (Head, Neck, Back, Legs & Spine)

Back to School Bus Safety in the Age of COVID-19

Florida public schools (Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties) re-open next week and concerns over safety on the road and on the buses are at an all time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Of all the complex decisions education leaders face as they plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 academic year, the toughest one might be the most basic: how to get students to the buildings in the first place safely.

COVID-19 Precautions and School Buses – Adapting to Keep Kids Safe

The Transportation Department of the Escambia County School District places the safety of our students and staff as highest priority. Here are the steps they are taking to maximize safety all buses as your children head back to school on August 24, 2020.

Steps include:

– Training of all school bus drivers

– Face masks provided

– Students encouraged to wear face masks

– Hand sanitizer – to be used when entering and exiting the school bus

– All buses will be thoroughly disinfected at least twice per day.

– All school buses will have an established seating chart to maintain as much safe distance as possible.

Watch the video and learn more here >

Each district has posted instructions for helping parents find their child’s bus stop. You can find Santa Rosa County’s here >

In Escambia County, parents can log into their Focus Parent Portal here >

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends students wear face coverings and sit one child per row while skipping rows whenever possible.

Is the School Bus Safer Than Driving Your Kids to School?

Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car. That’s because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they’re designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries; and in every state, stop-arm

• Different by Design: School buses are designed so that they’re highly visible and include safety features such as flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors and stop-sign arms. They also include protective seating, high crush standards and rollover protection features.

• Protected by the Law: Laws protect students who are getting off and on a school bus by making it illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach.

Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road

School days bring congestion: School buses are picking up their passengers, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work. It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children

• If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop

• The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus

Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Remember – Our Children’s Safety Comes First!

Although all parents warn their children about the dangers of traffic, we need to remember that children are still young and still learning. With all of the distractions around them, it’s easy to imagine a child stepping off of the bus and not being able to hear or notice oncoming traffic. We are the adults; it is our duty to abide by the laws put in place, not be in a hurry, or also be distracted.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a school bus, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://weartv.com/news/local/escambia-county-schools-releases-video-showing-new-covid-19-bus-precautions

https://weartv.com/news/local/escambia-county-school-board-members-weigh-in-on-safety-of-returning-to-school

http://www.escambiayellow.com

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/school-bus-safety

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/seasonal-safety/back-to-school/drivers

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/school-buses-adapt-kids-safe-covid-19-crisis/story?id=72212386