Accidents happen. While that saying may always be true, it does not excuse us from taking steps to reduce preventable deaths. According to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Florida has the nation’s highest unintentional drowning death rate for children between the ages of 1 and 4. The rate in Florida is three times higher than the drowning rate nationwide. While much of that can be explained by the proliferation of beaches, swimming pools and water parks in the state, it is still clear that more needs to be done to protect the health and safety of young children.
Across the country, there were 416 drowning victims 12 years of age and younger between May1, 2011 and August 26, 2011. Of these, 286 were children under six years old. The vast majority of drowning deaths in that age group occurred in swimming pools.
The Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition advises parents and guardians to establish layers of protection to prevent drowning deaths. Small children should be protected through supervision, fences, pool covers, education, alarms and other methods. If a child is going to be near a swimming pool or body of water, it is vital that parents know how to swim and how to perform CPR on their children. Pools should be kept off limits and should be enclosed by fences with self-closing, self-latching gates.
Drowning deaths are preventable. They are a tragedy that can be averted when proper care is taken to limit a child’s access to pools and other sources of open water.
Source: Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, “Layers of Protection – Drowning is 100% preventable,” by Paula DiGrigoli, 11 December 2012