Tampa, Fla. (Oct. 19, 2018) – With summer over, parents and caregivers may think the risk of child drowning is lower because kids spend less time in the pool and at the beach, however the risk of accidental drowning is constant year-round. Parents and caregivers should be attentive when with children at all times, as the risk of drowning is present even when water is not visible.
So far this year, nine children under the age of six have died from accidental drowning in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and more than half of them happened in a pond or bathtub. This year’s accidental drowning incidents are already more than the total drowning deaths from all of last year, which were six.
Three children drowned in a pond, two in a bathtub and four in a pool. In one instance, a toddler ran away from a grandparent while being put in their car seat, and accidentally drowned in a nearby pond.
The Prevent Needless Deaths awareness campaign is reminding parents and caregivers to practice water safety at all times to prevent children from drowning – one of the top causes of preventable death for children in the Tampa Bay area.
“Everyone from parents to babysitters have the responsibility of making sure children are safe around water,” said Kelley Parris, Executive Director of The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. “Supervision is key, along with ensuring there are other barriers like fences or door alarms, to prevent children from accessing water.”
Use the following water safety tips to ensure water safety year-round for children:
• Stay alert. Drowning usually happens silently, without the child calling for help. A small splash when the child enters the water may be the only sound made, which makes a drowning child go unnoticed.
• Assess the drowning risks around your family. Ponds, lakes and even decorative water features pose a drowning risk.
• Install barriers. Door alarms, yard fencing and pool fencing are all effective barriers to children accessing water and are a backup to supervision.
• Be within arm’s reach. When infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s reach, and close enough to rescue the child if needed.
• Be aware of hidden hazards. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Be sure to empty bathtubs, buckets and inflatable pools when they are no longer in use. Keep pet bowls out of reach from children and bathroom doors closed.
• Designate a “water watcher.” Children can drown in as little as 20 seconds, and lack of adult supervision is the main reason children die from drowning. An adult should always have their eyes on the child at all times when they are near water. In fact, two-thirds of small children who drowned in a pool were last seen in the house.
• Never rely on floatation devices. Flotation devices, such as water wings, inner tubes or even life vests should be used only in conjunction with close adult supervision.
In addition to drowning, the Prevent Needless Deaths campaign aims to educate parents and caregivers on the other two top causes of preventable death among infants and young children: unsafe sleep practices and head trauma. To learn more about preventing needless deaths among children, visit www.PreventNeedlessDeaths.com.
About Prevent Needless Deaths
Prevent Needless Deaths is an awareness campaign that aims to educate people in Hillsborough County on how to prevent needless deaths among children related to water safety, safe sleep practices and head trauma prevention. www.PreventNeedlessDeaths.com.