Tag Archives: Child Accident Lawyer

Important Information About Water Safety For Florida Parents

The month of May is a time to celebrate National Water Safety Month. The entire month of May has been officially dedicated as a time to bring awareness and education about water safety to the general community. This initiative is coordinated by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, with support from the American Red Cross, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association. Read on for more information on water safety for Florida parents

There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools and an additional 7.3 million hot tubs operating in the U.S.

Over the summer, 8 out of 10 Americans are planning to swim in a pool. For children and teens between the ages of 7 and 17, swimming remains the #1 most popular recreational activity.

Child Drownings In The United States Have Reached A Ten-Year High.

Pediatric drowning rates reached a 10-year record high. National Water Safety Month is May. Water is a “silent killer” for children. Child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among U.S. children ages 1 to 4, according to the CPSC. Three-quarters of those deaths involved children younger than the age of 5, and 83% of those occurred in residential pools.

Florida Set A New Low In 2021.

Florida hit a grim new record in 2021, reporting the most child drownings since at least 2009.

The Florida Department of Children and Families report shows that deaths rose from 69 in 2020 to 98 in 2021. Twenty-four of those children drowned in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Sarasota, and Manatee counties.

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water. The designated adult water watcher should not read, text, use a phone, or otherwise be distracted while watching children. This advice includes situations involving bathtubs, buckets, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of barriers to prevent an unsupervised child from getting into the water. These measures can include door alarms, pool covers, and self-closing, self-latching devices on doors that access the pool and on gates of four-sided fences.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim. Contact your local YMCA about swimming lessons.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapment. Your pool or spa should have drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you’re not sure, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.

What About Beach Swimming?

Swimming in open water is much different than swimming in a pool, but most people are not aware of the dangers, especially for children. Florida’s beaches are a glittering playground made of sun and sand–and by all means, you should enjoy the water!

You can splash in the shallows, ride the waves, or just bob up and down in the surf.

But before you dip one toe in the ocean, make sure you know these simple ocean swimming safety rules to keep you safe.

Swimming in the ocean or a large body of water is different than swimming in a pool or most small lakes. You’ll need to watch out for:

  • Riptides and undercurrents
  • Unexpected changes
  • Drop-off water depths
  • Rocks, debris, and other hazards and obstacles.
  • Whether there’s local marine life that can sting or bite
  • Boats, ships, and other watercraft that may be in the water at the same time.
  • There is bad weather in the area, such as lightning or thunderstorms.
  • Hurricane warnings

What Do Beach Flag Colors Mean?

The list below outlines what the colored flags you’ll see posted at the beach generally mean. Your local beach may differ slightly, though.

Ask a lifeguard or beach patrol if you aren’t sure what the flag means before entering the water.

  • Double red flag: water closed, no public swimming
  • Red flag: high hazard of surf and/or currents
  • Yellow flag: medium hazard or moderate surf and/or currents
  • Purple flag: dangerous marine life such as jellyfish, stingrays, or dangerous fish
  • Green flag: low hazard, calm conditions
  • Black and white checkered flag: set up along the beach, usually as a pair, to indicate separate sections to help keep swimmers and surfers safely apart in the water

Florida Residential Pool Safety Act

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 your child has been injured or has been a victim of a drowning due to an unsafe pool, hot tub or proper, 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

https://www.today.com/parents/morgan-miller-shares-heartbreaking-plea-anniversary-daughter-s-drowning-t221539?cid=sm_npd_td_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR3BNhSgUz3eUJ2hz_biEVcXXGLsBXC60N4Dm4gg9SA8eJPR2hk0ihWCdTE

https://pinellas.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2022/04/water-safety-month.html

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2022/05/03/florida-health-offers-advice-for-national-water-safety-month

https://nwsm.phta.org

Water Safety

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html

https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/health-news-florida/2022-01-12/florida-reports-a-rise-in-child-drownings-in-2021

https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-beaches-ocean-swimming-safety-tips/

Florida hit a grim new record in 2021, reporting the most child drownings since at least 2009.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db413.htm

https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/98-children-drowned-in-florida-in-2021-a-record-number-according-to-state-data/

https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html

https://escambia.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/wellness-programs/health-messages/summer-safety/drowning-prevention/index.html

https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsReports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Death.DataViewer&cid=0105

https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsReports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Death.Dataviewer

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/drowning

https://www.safekids.org/watersafety

National Water Safety Month Is Celebrated The Entire Month of May

Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers – Car Accident, Wrongful Death, Malpractice

Boppy Newborn Lounger Recall Alert!

Newborn Loungers Recall AlertAs you may know, on September 21st, 2021, The Boppy Company recalled over 3.3 million of their “Boppy Newborn Loungers” after eight reported infant deaths. These products pose a significant threat to infants, as the design itself creates an asphyxiation hazard. Specifically, asphyxiation caused by the position of the baby’s neck against the Boppy Newborn Lounger.

What Exactly is a Boppy Newborn Lounger?

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was placed on the market in January of 2004, and was designed for infants to “lounge” on. Many parents are familiar with the original Boppy nursing pillow, a product originally placed on the market to assist nursing mothers. What separates the two products is their intended use, with the Newborn Lounger designed for “lounging” purposes rather than as a nursing aid.

The Boppy Newborn Lounger was removed from the market in September/August of 2021. At that time, it was one of the leading products sold by the Boppy Company. The product had been called into question about a year prior by a journalist who noted that there were several deaths that were being associated with the pillow.

The Boppy Newborn Lounger is different from the original Boppy Pillow in that the original design was specifically designed and sold as a nursing aid. This nursing pillow has been used by many mothers to assist in the breastfeeding process. The company designed this Boppy Newborn Lounger by basically using the general pillow design and adding a piece of fabric to the center, and then encouraging it to be used as a baby lounging device.

Lounging Danger

But, if you have an infant, you know that they do not lounge. Infants spend the vast majority of their time sleeping, which is what makes this product so dangerous. In the event that an infant falls asleep on one of these loungers or is left unattended for too long, parents run the risk of suffocating their babies to death. Due to the shape and design of this particular product, it is far too easy for an infant to find itself in a position that blocks its airways.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, between December of 2015 and June 2020, eight infants died after being placed on the lounger while lying on their back, side, or stomach. Meaning, if the child is not placed perfectly inside of this product, parents run the risk of their baby suffocating.


If the child is not placed perfectly inside of this product, parents run the risk of their baby suffocating.


Previous Recalls

To make matters even worse, this is not the first product manufactured by the Boppy Company that has created such a potential for infant suffocation. In July of 2019, The Boppy Company again had to recall one of its products, this time the Infant Head and Neck Support Accessories. This particular product, shown below, features a similar design and, unfortunately, the same risk. Due to the head support area’s allowing for infants’ heads to become tilted too far forward, this product again posed a suffocation hazard.

Zarzaur Law has filed the first case in the United States against the Boppy Company. The allegations in the Boppy Lawsuit include allegations that the Boppy Newborn Lounger was defective by its design, manufacture, and inadequacy of warnings. The Boppy company is defending this lawsuit and is first contending that they are not subject to the personal jurisdiction of the court here in Florida. This particular issue is before the Court currently.

Review previous recall articles below:

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2019/The-Boppy-Company-Recalls-Infant-Head-and-Neck-Support-Accessories-Due-to-Suffocation-Hazard#

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2021/The-Boppy-Company-Recalls-Over-3-Million-Original-Newborn-Loungers-Boppy-Preferred-Newborn-Loungers-and-Pottery-Barn-Kids-Boppy-Newborn-Loungers-After-8-Infant-Deaths-Suffocation-Risk

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/23/1040203150/boppy-recall-infant-baby-deaths-suffocation-risk-sleep

 

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

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 or a loved one is in need of a FREE legal consultation in regards to your wrongful death case, speak with Zarzaur Law’s Florida Wrongful Death Act experts. 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.

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

 

 

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

Do You Know Florida’s Car Seat Laws?

As of Jan. 1, 2020, Washington state has new laws on child car seats. This includes stricter rules on age, weight and height of children, restraints and how long a child must be in a rear facing seat. With this in mind, the question then leads to – do all parents in Florida know the laws in place enforcing the use of child safety seats in vehicles?

Children Under the Age of 18

In Florida, all passengers under the age of 18 must wear a seatbelt while in the vehicle. The proper type of seatbelt or harness depends on the child’s age, height, and weight. A driver can receive a traffic ticket and fine for not making sure that any passenger under the age of 18 is wearing a seatbelt. All drivers in Florida, as well as anyone sitting in the passenger seat, must wear seatbelts at all times. Failure to wear a seatbelt may result in a $30 fine, as well as additional fees. Although not part of the law, the Florida Department of Highway Safety recommends that all children 12 and under not ride in the passenger seat of the vehicle.

Children Under the Age of Five

All children ages five and under must sit in a federally-approved car seat while in a motor vehicle in Florida. Failure to use a car seat for children five and younger can result in a $60 fine and three points on the driver’s license. Children three and under must sit in a separate car seat or a built-in car seat if the vehicle has one. Children four and five years old can either sit in a car seat or use a booster seat depending on the child’s height and weight.

Best Practices

Florida has some of the most lenient car seat laws in the country. Parents should understand that these are minimum standards.

Best practice would be for a child to remain rear facing car seat at least until age two or until the maximum height and weight limit of their convertible car seat. After age two the child can then transition from rear facing to forward facing, yet remain in a 5-point harness until at minimum age of five or six years old or until the maximum height and weight limit of their forward-facing harness seat. Once a child has outgrown their forward facing harness, they should remain in a belt positioning booster seat until they pass the 5-step test, which is typically 4’9″ tall and between 10-13 years old.

Children should remain in the backseat until at least age 13, as that is typically the age in which the body can withstand the impacts of an airbag. While a child may appear to be the size of a full grown adult, their bone structure is still not as calcified or strong enough to withstand the forces of the airbag.

Car Seat Installation

Every car seat is different, every car is different and therefore installation for a car seat could be different in every vehicle. Reading the manual is critical to a successful install. Always read the manual and even watch our ZTV episode that featured a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician from the Pensacola Fire Department. Joe and Pensacola Fire Inspector John Bartholomew show you how to properly install a child car seat, as well as provide tips to ensure your child’s safety in case you are ever involved in a car accident.

Watch Car Seat Installation Video Here > 

Parents can’t always prevent car accidents, but they can prevent injuries to their children, by making sure their child is properly secured in the vehicle .

If you’ve been the victim of an accident caused by another’s carelessness, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Instead, put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve.

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law, P.A., a Pensacola Personal Injury law firm, has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer. For more information, visit: https://www.zarzaurlaw.com

11 E Romana Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
Telephone: 850-444-9299
Email: info@zarzaurlaw.com

 

Sources:

https://www.multicare.org/news/new-car-seat-law-rundown/

New Law Would Make Kids Stay In Booster Seats Until They’re Tweens

Changes to Washington’s Child Restraint Law Focus of Child Passenger Safety Week

https://www.flhsmv.gov

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/life/2017/08/24/car-seat-safety-tips/562601001/

Accidents and Injuries at School: Who is Accountable?

If your child is injured at school, who might be liable? Does it matter whether it was a private or public school, for purposes of pursuing a lawsuit?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion.

Playground Accidents and Injuries: Common Causes
– Poor maintenance or design of school playground equipment
– Lack of adequate supervision

70% of all School Injuries Occur During Recess or Physical Education.
A review of injury data has revealed that the lack of proper supervision is considered a “contributing factor in playground injuries over 40% of the time”.
– Occurrence and Consequences of Playground-Related Injuries
– All Emergency Department-Treated, Playground-Related Injuries
– About 56% of playground-related injuries that are treated in ERs are fractures and contusions/abrasions.
– About 75% of injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds. Most occur at a place of recreation or school.

Playground-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
– The overall rate of Emergency room (ER) visits for playground-related TBI has significantly increased in recent years (2005-2013).
– About two-thirds of playground-related TBIs occurred at school and places or recreation or sports and often involved monkey bars, climbing equipment, or swings.
– Most ER visits for playground-related TBIs occur during weekdays, Monday through Friday.
– Playground-related TBI ER visits occurred frequently during the months of April, May, and September.

concussion_infographic_brain_injury_signs_symptoms
Can a School District Be Sued for Injuries to Students at School During School Hours?

In evaluating a case involving a public or even a private school, two essential questions are addressed as follows:

1. Was the incident / accident foreseeable in nature to the school and / or its staff?

2. Was the incident / accident preventable with better supervision, maintenance, or other reasonable and necessary acts on the part of the school and / or its staff?

What Can Be Done?
Take steps to keep kids safe by:
• Checking that playgrounds have soft material under them such as wood chips, sand, or mulch.
• Reading playground signs and using playground equipment that is right for your child’s age.
• Making sure there are guardrails in good condition to help prevent falls.
• Looking out for things in the play area that can trip your child, like tree stumps or rocks.

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 your child has been seriously injured at school, 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.

RESOURCES:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/playground-related-injuries-on-the-rise/

Playground Liability: Accident or Injury

https://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Playground-Injuries/playgroundinjuries-factsheet.htm

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/my-child-was-injured-school-who-liable.html

https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/resources/graphics.html

Back To School and Bus Stop Safety – Do You Know the Golden Rules?

Florida school buses carry precious cargo – our children. Most motorists drive with caution around school buses and at school bus stops and school zones, but accidents do happen and children walking or riding bikes can be unpredictable, so motorists must always be alert.

ZL_blog_SCHOOL_BUS_SAFETY
School Bus Safety: Are you following the golden rules?

However, statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicate the amount of school bus accidents in Florida is on the rise. From 2012 to 2015, there has been a 16 percent increase in school bus-related accidents throughout the state. Just in the year 2015 alone, there were a reported 2,698 school bus accidents in Florida.

Not only are there accidents when on the bus, but also at the bus stop itself. There have been reported injuries and deaths during loading and unloading of school buses. The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey is produced annually by the Kansas Department of Education and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. The survey does not count onboard fatalities. The eight fatalities during the 2016-17 school year were evenly split between girls and boys. Five of the children killed were six or seven years old. One was nine, one was 11 and one was 16. Three students were killed as they crossed the street to board their buses, which had not yet come to a complete stop but were displaying eight-way yellow lights. Three others were struck and killed by passing motorists who illegally ignored a stopped school bus’ extended stop arm and flashing red lights.

School Transportation News (STN) records indicate that four additional student pedestrians were killed last school year in incidents that involved school buses but not during the loading or unloading process. Three students were hit by a school bus as they were walking on or near roads, and another student was struck by a motorist after the school bus had already dropped him off at a stop and left the area.

“Fatalities—which are caused by a variety of circumstances and errors by passing motorists and school bus driver—continue to take place,” the survey introduction read in part. “This shows the continuing need for forceful, advanced instruction to school bus drivers and students, as well as the need to increase our efforts to thoroughly inform drivers across the country about the requirements of the school bus stop law.”

On average, nearly nine students died while loading or unloading the school bus over the past 10 years.

School Bus Safety Tips for Motorists
• Be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses and in school parking lots.

• Children on bicycles can be unpredictable and can make sudden changes in direction. Be especially careful when children are present in school zones and residential areas.

• Pay extra attention to lower speed limits in school zones.
Watch for and obey signals from school crossing guards.

• Only drive or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.

• Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arms extended. (See the different situations in the diagram below)

• All drivers moving in either direction on a two-way street must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal, and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children AND the school bus stop arm is withdrawn. (see diagram, TWO-LANE)

• On a highway divided by a paved median, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal, and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children AND the school bus stop arm is withdrawn. (see diagram, MULTI-LANE)

• The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop, is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic. (see diagram, DIVIDED HIGHWAY)

• On a highway divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least 5 feet wide, drivers moving in the opposite direction do not have to stop for the bus (painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers). However, these motorists should slow down and watch for students loading or unloading from the bus. (see diagram, DIVIDED HIGHWAY)

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Stopped school bus rules and safety tips.

Penalties for passing stopped school bus include:
• Moving violation subject to citation;
• Requirement to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course upon conviction;
• Four points on your driver license; and
• Minimum fine of $165, if you pass on the side where children enter and exit, you will receive a minimum fine of $265.

On July 1, 2017, the Cameron Mayhew Act took effect in Florida, which increases the minimum penalty for drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus, resulting in the injury or death of another person. Cameron Mayhew was killed by a motorist that failed to stop as he was walking to his stopped school bus in 2016.
Penalties for passing a stopped school bus that causes or results in the serious bodily injury or the death of another person include:
• Serving 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital;
• Participating in a victim’s impact panel session, or if such a panel does not exist, attending a DHSMV approved driver improvement course;
• Six points on your driver license;
• Suspension of license for a minimum of one year; and
• $1,500 fine.

Our Children’s Safety Comes First!
With all of the distractions around them, it’s easy to visualize a child stepping off of the bus and not being able to hear or notice oncoming traffic. We are the adults; it is our job to abide by the laws put in place, not be in a hurry, or 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 your child has been injured at a school bus stop or on a school bus due to negligence of a motorist, 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.

References:

https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/child-safety/school-bus-safety/

http://stnonline.com/news/latest-news/item/9190-school-bus-loading-unloading-zone-fatalities-double

https://www.idrivesafely.com/traffic-school/florida/school-bus-stop-law/

http://www.fldoe.org/schools/healthy-schools/transportation/

http://spacecoastdaily.com/2018/08/back-to-school-traffic-safety-tips-by-florida-department-of-transportation/

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/1622/BillText/__/HTML

Graduating Your Child to a Car Booster Seat – The Safest Option?

About 20% of children who are passengers in car accidents are fatally injured. According to The National Center for Health Statistics, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for children in the United States. For this reason, a child restraint systems is a necessary device for child passengers in a motor vehicle.

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The device consists of a car seat that uses a harness system as primary safety. When the passenger is an infant, the seat is placed in a rear-facing position. By the time a child reaches the age of four years-old, most parents replace the harness with a booster seat. The booster seat, elevates the child, repositioning their bodies so that the car’s safety belt fits correctly.

Do Booster Seats Provide More Protection Than a Five-Point Harness?

Harness seats are provided with straps that secure the child around the shoulders keeping him or her attached to the back of the seat. Two additional tethers cross between the legs keeping each leg secured. In this way, the impact of an accident can disperse broadly through the body instead of causing injuries in one place. (Langino & Kroeger, 2018). As the child grows older and weighs between 20 and 40 pounds, harness seats are placed facing forward (National Transportation Safety Board, 1996).

Booster seats are used as a transition to seat belts for children between 40 and 60 pounds and older than four years of age (National Transportation Safety Board, 1996). These seats use the car safety belt to secure the child from one shoulder across the chest, buckling it up on the side of the hip while the lap belt keeps the hips and the pelvis secure in the seat (Gearner, & Robertson 2012). Most booster seats, however, are marketed for children starting at 30 pounds allowing parents to begin the transition time much earlier than recommended.

The Law

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 (FMVSS 213), stated a series of norms and regulations back in 1971 related to the design and safety of harness seats for children weighing less than 30 pounds. The purpose of these regulations was to reduce the number of children killed or injured in auto accidents (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 1979). Booster seats were included in the 213 standards in 1994. Curiously, tests carried out to determine these seats effectiveness were made using the harness seats parameters. This action neglected the fact that booster seat users weighing more than 30 pounds and having different heights. From then on, booster seats have been sold in the United States only with a restriction to be used by children weighing no less than 30 pounds, making available a restraint system which has not been adequately verified, jeopardizing a child’s life (Langino & Kroeger, 2018). There are no rules that regulate the design of these seats, and no booster seat company has yet developed test standards to ensure its safety.

State law in the Florida Statute 316.613.1a requires that motor vehicle operators must provide federally approved child restraint devices that have been crash-tested. Clearly, there is an ambiguity in stating the specifications of a crash-test related to weights and heights. This imprecision means no explicit regulation in case of damages caused by using these systems. Additionally, in 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed the first side-impact crash-test. A test aimed to verify the effectiveness of car seats in side-impacts or “T-bone” collisions for children weighing up to 40 pounds. The proposal didn’t pass; yet, today the market advertises booster seats that have been side-impact tested.

A Good Alternative

Fortunately, there is an alternative to avoid using booster seats. The lower anchor tethers for children also called LATCH system allows the installation of a harness seat for children weighing more than 40 pounds. The system uses a tether and two lower anchors to keep the seat secure. These anchors are available on vehicle models manufactured on and after 2002 (National Child Passenger Safety Certification, n.a.)

Car seats are a vital device to protect a child’s life while in a motor vehicle. Although both harness and booster seats are made to avoid injuries or fatalities during a car accident, the safety provided by the five-point harness is more effective than the protection provided by the safety belt whose security focuses only on three points. The LATCH system provides a useful way of setting up a harness seat. Always remember to read the user manual for proper installation.

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, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If your child has been injured in a car accident while in a booster seat, 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:

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. (1979, December) Child Restrain System, 44 FR 72147. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2r1oHje

Gearner, D. & Robertson, B. (2012, October). Booster seat usage for children 4 to 8 years of age. Journal of Pediatric Nursing 38(5), 285-288.

Langino, A. J. & Kroeger, L. M. (2018, January). Blind Spots. Trial: American Association for Justice, 40-45.

National Center for Health Statistics (n.a.). Child Passenger Safety: Get the Facts. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2cfooKQ

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2014) NHTSA Proposes first-ever side impact test for child restraint systems. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2KeRpps

National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program (n.a.) Lower anchors and tethers for children. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2HZmJYx

State Uniform Traffic Control, 2017 Fla. § 316.0613. (2017) Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2KhBTJq

United States National Transportation Safety Board. (1996). The performance and use of child restraint systems, seat-belts, and air bags for children in passenger vehicles : safety study. Washington, D.C. : Springfield, Va. :National Transportation Safety Board ; National Technical Information Service
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AAA study: Millennials Cause The Most Car Wrecks

Auto accidents
A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that young millennial drivers are the most dangerous on the roads compared to any other age group.

Do you know who causes the most auto accidents in the United States?

Would you guess it’s men or women? Maybe you’d guess It’s people who live in the beautiful beaches of Pensacola or in the Pacific Northwest?

Who Causes Car Accidents?

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests another factor. Age. And not even the youngest drivers, as most would suspect.

The report released Wednesday revealed that nearly 90 percent of young millennials ages 19-24 admitted to engaging in at least one risky behavior while behind the wheel in the past month, earning them the top spot in the study. While millennials fared the worst, large percentages of the other age groups studied also admitted to dangerous driving practices.

Looking at Auto Accident Facts

For example, 79 percent of drivers ages 25-39 admitted to texting while driving. car accidents pensacolaThat number only drops to 75 percent for drivers ages 40-59.

But 88 percent of millennials in the 19-24 age group acknowledged that within the past 30 days they had sped, ran a red light or texted while driving.

Compared with the other age groups, the study found that millennials were:

  • More than twice as likely to speed in a school zone.
  • 1.4 times as likely to have driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
  • Nearly twice as likely to have typed — or sent — a text message or email while driving.
  • Nearly half drove through a red light, compared to 36 percent of all drivers.

“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” Dr. David Yang, the foundation’s executive director, said in the study. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

U.S. traffic deaths rose to more than 35,000 in 2015 — a 7 percent increase from 2014 and the largest single-year increase in the past 50 years, according to the study. If you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident or traffic related death, call Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law, P.A.

Pensacola Product Liability: Ikea Recalls 29 Million Dressers and Chests

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerAt least six children have been crushed to death by toppling Ikea chests, prompting the voluntary recall of about 29 million chests and dressers sold by the popular retailer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. Pensacola product Liability Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur explains the products recalled include dressers from Ikea’s lower-cost Malm line, which has been plagued with consumer reports regarding injuries and deaths.

Ikea and the CPSC told ABC that at least 36 children have been injured by Ikea chests and dressers, which are prone to tip over when they aren’t anchored to the wall. The deaths — all children under the age of 4 — date back to 1989 and are as recent as this February, the CPSC said.

The company is offering a refund or repair kit for affected dressers, including the MALM and other styles, the CPSC said. Further details were not immediately available. Furniture manufactured between 2002 and 2016 will entitle customers to a full refund; consumers can receive a partial store credit for items manufactured before 2002.

Pensacola Personal Injury LawyerUpon request, the company will send a crew to install the wall anchor for customers who don’t want to do it themselves, the CPSC said. In the meantime, the CPSC is encouraging consumers to store the dresser where children won’t have access to it. At least four of the deaths were the result of unanchored chests.

In a statement regarding the voluntary recall, Ikea said that “a child in the US dies every two weeks from furniture, appliances, or TVs tipping over,” stressing that it instituted a repair kit program last year “to communicate the importance of wall attachment, which resulted in the distribution of 300,000 kits to consumers who had not used their original hardware.”

Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law and Pensacola product liability lawyer, has created this  blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Board Certified Lawyer Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced a product malfunction, auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of medical malpractice or are in need of a personal injury lawyer.

“Since then, we have been in close contact with the CPSC to evaluate the success of the repair program and the impact it is having on consumers’ actions. We are announcing this recall today given the recent tragic death of a third child,” the statement said, referring to the number of children killed by MALM dressers. Three other children have been killed by other-style IKEA chests.

“It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes, and we believe that taking further action is the right thing to do,” Ikea continued in the statement. “We will continue to work collaboratively with the CPSC on tip-over prevention, development of the ASTM standard, and innovations that will enhance product safety and further reduce the risk of tip-overs.”

Pensacola Product Liability Lawyer

 

Some childhood injuries – bumps, cuts, and bruises – are a part of growing up. But if your child was hurt, you deserve answers. In cases of a serious accident resulting in substantial medical care or lasting impairment, you may need a Pensacola product liability lawyer or child accident lawyer to help get the financial compensation your family needs.

Zarzaur Law Firm can investigate the accident that caused your child’s injury. If it was a preventable accident, we can help you see to it that the responsible party is held liable under Florida personal injury or wrongful death laws. We can help you deal with the financial consequences of your child’s accident and provide further compassion and support as you deal with the emotional aspects of your child’s case.