Florida Leads in Accidental Drowning Deaths
Florida loses more young children to drowning than any other state.
This summer promises to be no different.
So far five children from our area have died since the summer season.
A toddler from Yulee, crawled through a dog door and drowned in the backyard pool. He was under the supervision of a 16-year-old babysitter who had four other children.
A four-year-old boy died after being rescued from a pool in Keystone Heights.
A two-year-old drowned in a family pool in Jacksonville and during a July 4th party a 4-year-old girl died in a pool during a house party.
A 12-year-old died in a Jacksonville apartment pool during a private party. His drowning was captured on a surveillance camera.
It is a dubious distinction – Florida has the highest unintentional drowning rate among children under the age of 5.
Among children ages five to 14, auto accidents still claim more lives, but drowning is second.
Children who cannot swim represent the most casualties. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there is a 5.5 times greater rate a black child will drown compared to other children.
The age they are most vulnerable is 10.
According to the Washington Post as many as seven in 10 African American children, 60 percent of Hispanics, and 40 percent of Caucasian children cannot swim.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports since 2010 the number of fatal child drownings in swimming pools, among those younger than age five, has decreased 17 percent nationwide.
So education campaigns are working. According to Pool Safety public education campaign:
*A four-sided fence needs to surround the pool and spa.
*A Water Watcher should be designated. This person needs to stay off their smartphone and avoid distractions.
*Children must be taught how to swim
*Avoid any drains or pipes that can lead to entrapment
*Make sure drain covers comply with safety standards. If you don’t know, ask the pool service provider.
*Black Kids Swim was founded in 2015 helps parents find a swim team for their child and links kids to role models who were champion swimmers.
*The YMCA has launched an ambitious program this summer to teach thousands of kids how to swim. Safety Around Water offers eight 40-minute lessons to teach kids to float, swim, and jump. They can help you find a Y in your community.
*The USA Swimming Foundation will help you find a swim coach or team in your area to train your little ones to swim.