Florida is a state that allows for swimming virtually year round. There are swimming pools in just about every neighborhood from small backyard pools to community swimming pools. While swimming is a great activity for children, it also poses a real risk for children, especially toddlers and smaller children who lack strong swimming, survival skills, and judgment. Certainly, a child is at risk when there is no adult supervision in the area of the water way / swimming pool. Even when adults are present, there are also risks to children if their the “supervision” is distracted by conversation, mobile phone use, a television, or just simple inattention. When a child dies or is seriously injured from a drowning incident, there is a ripple effect through the family and the community.
A recent event that occurred in Jacksonville, Florida exemplifies this. According to a news report, a toddler drowned in a backyard pool when family members briefly lost track of him. Events like these occur all too frequently. According to the Center for Disease Control, an average of over 700 children under age fourteen die annually from drowning. The Center for Disease Control also indicates that, for every child that dies from drowning, five others go to the hospital for almost drowning. Unfortunately, Florida leads the nation in number of child deaths from drowning in 2017, as revealed by the Miami Herald. Thus, staying vigilant with children around water is especially pertinent in Florida. See Water Injuries – Fact Sheet- Center for Disease Control.
Most drowning and near drowning incidents are completely preventable. Water safety / swimming precautions can include: installation of fencing around water, designation of an adult to provide constant supervision of children in water or around water, pool alarm systems for doors leading out to water access, adornment of lifejackets when children play near or in the water, and swim lessons at a young age. CPR training may also save a child’s life in the event that a child drowns.