Supervision and child proofing measures can save a child from accidentally drowning
Tampa, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2019) – Accidental child drowning is a tragedy that parents and caregivers think won’t happen to their family, but sadly eleven local children died from accidental drowning in 2018. This New Year, the Prevent Needless Deaths campaign is urging parents and caregivers to make a New Year’s resolution to eliminate accidental drownings.
Accidental drowning is the number one preventable death for children ages one to four in the Tampa Bay area, and lack of adult supervision and barriers to water are the main reason children die from drowning.
When near water, safety advocates urge parents to designate a “water watcher” – an adult who is free of distractions and responsible for watching children. Unfortunately, accidental drownings also occur even when a child isn’t expected to be near water. Children can silently drown in as little as 20 seconds, and parents and caregivers can take measures to child-proof their home to make it harder for kids to access bodies of water.
“Eleven children in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties accidentally drowned in 2018, which is far too many. Parents and caregivers need to take precautions to prevent this tragedy from happening to their family,” said Kelley Parris, Executive Director of The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. “Supervision is key but ensuring there are other barriers like fences or door alarms, is equally fundamental to preventing children from accessing water.”
Two-thirds of young children who drowned in a pool were last seen in the house, when parents and caregivers thought the child was playing or taking a nap. If your child goes missing for even a moment, check any bodies of water first. There is no time to waste if your child has submerged in water.
This New Year, parents and caregivers are urged to implement the following child proofing safety measures:
· Install a fence with a lock and self-closing gate around your pool. The gate prevents drowning by keeping kids from reaching the pool. Check existing pool fences for tears and damage – even a small tear that a child could fit through needs to be repaired.
· Fence your yard. Fencing provides an effective barrier between children in your home and bodies of water: ponds, lakes, canals or even drainage areas.
· Install door alarms. Most children who drown in a nearby pond or pool were last seen inside the house when parents or caregivers thought the children were napping or playing inside. A simple door alarm will alert a caregiver and potentially avoid a tragic death.
· Assess the drowning risks around your home or anywhere you may be visiting. Ponds, lakes and even decorative water features pose a drowning risk.
· 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, bathroom doors closed and toilet seats down.
In addition to drowning prevention, 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 the Hillsborough County community on how to prevent needless deaths among children related to water safety, safe sleep practices and head trauma prevention. www.PreventNeedlessDeaths.com.