Florida's drowning death rate among children under age 5 is the highest in the nation.
In Florida, drowning occurs year round but the highest number drownings occur in the spring and summer. Florida loses more children under age five to drowning than any other state. Over 60% of these drowning deaths occur in residential swimming pools every year.
Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 – 4 years old. Children less than a year old are more likely to drown at home in the bathroom or a bucket. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Annually, in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.
Common household items are involved in many deaths of children under age 5.
- Infants and toddlers can fall head first into 5 gallon buckets that have very little water in them, and drown. The same scenario applies to toilets.
- Covered spas or hot tubs that have covers on them are also a threat. Toddlers can get under the cover and go un-noticed.
- Other household items such as coolers, fish tanks, ponds, or anything else that holds 2 inches or more of water – are drowning hazards for infants and toddlers.
How can we prevent drowning?
- Any time a child age 5 or under is in the bath tub – maintain constant supervision. Even one minute left alone, could result in drowning. Bath rings or seats have been involved in drowning and do not guarantee child safety. “Children can drown quickly and silently”. (CPSC)
- Ensure the toilet seat is down. Keep the bathroom door shut and put a safety latch on it to ensure the toddler does not get inside the bathroom without supervision.
- Never leave containers with water in them around the yard or house. Empty mop buckets, blow up pools and other water vessels immediately after use. Turn the items upside down once emptied to ensure water can not get back in them if it rains.
- Always secure the safety cover on your spa or hot tub; and put security fencing or alarms around pools.
With the above prevention methods, most of these drowning accidents can be avoided. As a precaution it is also a good idea to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) - it can be a lifesaver.
Swimming Pool Safety: Layers of Protection
1 SUPERVISION 2 BARRIERS 3 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Layer 1. Supervision: Supervision, the first and most crucial layer of protection, means someone is always actively watching when a child is in the pool.
Layer 2. Barriers: A child should never be able to enter the pool area unaccompanied by a guardian. Barriers physically block a child from the pool.
Layer 3. Emergency Preparedness: The moment a child stops breathing there is a small, precious window of time in which resuscitation may occur, but only if someone knows what to do. Even if you're not a parent, it’s important to learn CPR. The techniques are easy to learn and can mean the difference between life and death. In an emergency, it is critical to have a phone nearby and immediately call 911.