Many families from across the country come to Florida to enjoy the year-round warm weather and water. Florida is one of the most popular destinations for aquatic sports and swimming, but unfortunately, it is also the most dangerous to young children and infants. According to data from the United States Swimming Foundation, Florida led the nation with the most child drowning deaths in 2017, with a total of 51 fatal child drowning incidents in pools or spas. In child drowning deaths, over eighty percent involve children under the age of 5. Nationwide, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4.
How to Keep Children Safe
With the incidents of infant and child drowning seemingly on the rise in Florida, it is necessary to take precautions when allowing young children to swim. In Florida, the prevalence of lakes, pools, rivers, and beaches make avoiding bodies of water altogether very difficult. Instead, it’s better to instruct young children how to swim and teach them water safety skills early to reduce potential accidents. In addition, supervision is extremely important. Many infant and child drowning deaths occur simply because there is not an adult present to supervise and intervene in child swimming activities. Generally, it is good to follow these swimming safety guidelines:
- Never leave children unattended. This is the most important rule. Accidents happen, and even the best child swimmers may suffer an injury and be unable to save themselves. Adult supervision is essential.
- Don’t assume someone else is paying attention. In a community pool, or environment where multiple adults are present, it’s easy to assume that someone else is watching your child. The problem is, while many people might be present, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are paying attention. Many adults may be distracted on their smart phones, or talking to other adults. Make sure there is someone specifically in charge of watching your child, such as a lifeguard on duty, before leaving them at the pool alone.
- Teach your children (and yourself) to swim. In Florida, it’s important to teach your children how to swim due to the prevalence of beaches, rivers, and lakes. Teaching your children to swim will give them the skills they need to survive in the event of an accident. Ensure that young beginner swimmers are given arm floats to help them on their first lessons. It is important that both you and your children know how to swim. Otherwise, in the event of a slip and fall, you may endanger your own life by attempting to save them.
- Learn to perform CPR, or have someone close who is CPR trained and certified. This can help to save countless lives in the event of an accident and potentially save children from drowning.
Badgley Law Firm is dedicated to helping central Florida families who have been impacted by a personal injury or wrongful death. For more information on how we can help, contact us at 407-487-4154