• Florida Family Living

5 Truths About Drowning


With Florida's sweltering heat, all we want to relax waterside ... whether it's by the pool or at the beach. But drowning still remains the leading cause of injury-related death in children ages 1-14 in the United States. Know all the facts! Here are the 5 truths of drowning, and how to make water safety your number one priority this summer.

TRUTH 1: Weak or No Supervision

Children drown quickly and silently—in a matter of seconds. Adults who were present when a child drowns were often distracted in some way, by talking on the phone, chatting with other adults around the pool, or reading.

What you can do about it:

• Actively supervise your children around water.

• Remove all distractions: Books, television, laptops or tablets, etc.

• Silence and put away your phone (but have one nearby to call for help in an emergency).

• Designate an adult as the Water Watcher to prevent gaps in supervision.

TRUTH 2: No Barriers

Curious children, especially those younger than 4 years old, can easily find and fall in to bodies of water like pools, tubs and buckets. Often they are discovered too late to save.

What you can do about it:

• Never leave a child alone when in or near a body of water—even if it’s less than a few inches.

• For pool owners, make sure your pool has four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching gate.

• Hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.

• Get a pool alarm. CLICK HERE for the top brands in 2020.

TRUTH 3: Weak or No CPR Skills

Drowning victims who are rescued from the water need CPR immediately—before the paramedics arrive. It can prevent brain damage and be the difference between life and death.

What you can do about it:

• Get certified! There are plenty of CPR classes available to meet busy schedules.

• Contact local Red Cross at (941) 379-9300 and sign up for a class.

• Have a set emergency plan ready.

• Have a kit ready in case of emergencies that is easily accessible by the pool. CLICK HERE to learn CPR from home.

TRUTH 4: Weak or No Swimming Ability

Children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be at-risk of drowning. Minority children have especially low rates of swimming ability and high rates of drowning. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends enrolling your children between the ages 1-4.

What you can do about it:

• Enroll your child in swimming lessons.

• If you do not know how to swim either, enroll in an adult class or parent-child learn-to-swim class.

• To find swimming lessons, contact a local Red Cross, parks and recreation department, swim schools or even the YMCA.

TRUTH 5: Lack of Life Jacket Use

Nearly 5,000 boating accidents occur each year in open waters (lakes, rivers and oceans) and more than 700 people drown. Of those who drown, nine out of 10 are not wearing a life jacket. Also, alcohol use is involved in up to one in five reported boating fatalities.

What you can do about it:

• Have your child wear a life jacket every time you go boating or are on a dock.

• Avoid or moderate your alcohol consumption when boating.

• If you and your family boat frequently, consider taking a boating safety class through the U.S. Coast Guard.

If you are looking for peace of mind, a life jacket is the way to go. Picking the right one isn't a simple as you would think. It's important to keep in mind that anything inflatable is not a safety net. What inflates and eventually DEFLATE.

Our recommendations and tips:

• Make sure the life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard Approved. (USCG)

• Check the fit. Size and weight are important, not age.

• For smaller children, there should always be a strap from the back that latches on to the front (in between the legs). There should also be a neck loop as well to pull them out of the water if needed.

• Life jackets that have arm bands, also known as "Puddle Jumpers" are fine as well. Just purchase on that is USGC approved.

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