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Friday, August 19, 2022

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Be Water Smart from the Start

Drowning can happen to any child, anywhere and anytime. In fact, it is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 in the Tampa Bay region.

In the time it takes to read this fact, a young child can be just moments away from death by drowning. Drowning is silent and fast and can happen in as little as 20 seconds. Be the warning sign and help prevent these needless deaths.

Over the past four years, the Tampa Bay area has lost the equivalent of a kindergarten class of children due to drowning deaths. These are children whose deaths were preventable. We must all learn and know the threats – before tragedy strikes.

Here are some alarming facts about water safety:

  • Kids under age 1 most often drown in bathtubs, buckets & toilets
  • Also dangerous: in-ground and blow-up  pools, retention ponds, canals, spas, even a pet’s water dish
  • Small kids drown without making a sound
  • Drowning begins in as little as 20 seconds

Lack of supervision in and out of the water is the main reason children die from drowning. Kids left alone around pools or kids who have a pool that doesn’t have safety measures in place– like a safety fence– are more likely to find themselves in a bad situation. To keep the kids safe around water, designate a “water watcher” who keeps eyes on the child at all times. The watcher must stay close enough to rescue the child if needed and avoid being distracted by conversations, phone calls or other electronic devices. Just 20 seconds is all that it takes for drowning to begin.

Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so it is also imperative that you keep mop buckets and bathtubs empty when not in use. Leaving your child alone in the bathtub for even a minute can be all it takes for them to drown.

Teaching your kids about water safety from a young age is another important component to keeping them safe. When your eyes are on them and they are learning good water habits (like not going near the pool alone, always staying near the grown-ups, etc), you can help prevent these tragic deaths.

Another important measure to take is to learn CPR. Courses are offered through local hospitals including BayCare, Tampa General Hospital, All Children’s Hospital, HCA Hospitals, and Florida Hospital.

Tampa Bay’s epidemic of drowning deaths in young children must end. From parent to caregiver to homeowner, we all must take the responsibility to educate ourselves and the community on water safety dangers that are 100 percent preventable.

For more information on how you can prevent child deaths, and share this information with everyone today.

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