The relaxed days of summer vacation can be deadly and tragic for families with small children in Florida. The Centers for Disease Control report Florida overwhelmingly has the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation for 1-4 year olds. Between January and October 2011, 55 children, between the ages of 0-4 died in Florida. In 2013, between January and June, 19 toddlers have died in the 12 counties of Central Florida as reported by the Department of Children and Families. For every child that dies, 5 more receive emergency care for non-fatal submersion that often leads to irreversible brain damage.
Florida Department of Health Demographics
- Most drownings occur in private residences in an in-ground pool
- Usually males
- Usually white, non-Hispanic
- Victims are usually state residents, not visitors
- Seasonal pattern of summertime
- 2/3rd last seen inside the house
- Over 80% of the cases the median time child was missing was 10-12 minutes
- Most often day is Sunday
- Most common time between 12:00 pm -3:00 pm
- Primary barrier breached is a door
- 1/5 of parents mistakenly think air-filled water wings can protect the child
- Children can drown in as little as one inch of water
- 3.90% of drownings occur within 10 yards of safety
MehraVista Mindful Tips
- Pool should have at least 2 or more barriers to gain access
- Use pool alarms
- Use non-slip materials
- Educate friends, family and visitors about pool safety
- Keep away electrical appliances
- Have available, easily accessible rescue equipment
- An adult trained in basic CPR should always be present
- Water watcher -pledge to focus on pool. No drinking. No hand held devices.
- No substitution for one non-distracted, non-preoccupied adult watching one child. Check face every ten seconds.
- Preschool children can be enrolled in swim classes but no amount of instruction/education makes a child drown-proof
- Formulate emergency plan before it arises
- No babies alone in tub (not even with siblings)
- Require swim buddy, but be aware of double drownings
- Keep toilet lid closed
The summer temperatures continue to persist and swimming continues to be a fun, family centered activity to offset the oppressive heat. Please be careful and vigilant towards all participants involved in swimming activities. Take extra time and thoughtfulness to insure the safety of others around you.