POLK COUNTY, Fla. - After responding to three child-related drowning incidents over the weekend, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office wants to warn the public how dangerous water can be for small children and offer a few reminders about keeping little ones safe.
On Saturday evening at 6:48 p.m., a 5-year-old girl from Okechobee who was visiting with family members nearly drowned at an Aldridge Lane residence in Davenport.
Several family members, children and adults, were in the pool together when one adult noticed the 5-year-old at the bottom of the pool. She was pulled out of the water, CPR was performed and the child was revived.
Less than two hours later in Lakeland, a two-year-old child visiting a Trailsman Lane residence with his parents was found floating in the pool.
The group was celebrating a friend's birthday when the child wandered away from his parents and could not be located for approximately 15 minutes.
The child was found floating in a pool and was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where he is in critical condition.
On Sunday at 11:22 a.m. deputies again responded to a near drowning of a 21-month old boy at a Davenport home.
The child's three-year-old sibling opened the door to the pool area of the residence and the toddler wandered into the water. The child's mother found her son, pulled him from the water and performed CPR. He is listed in stable condition.
Everyday, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children age 14 or younger, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. (http://1.usa.gov/cqksww)
Polk County Sheriff's Office has offered the following tips to prevent such tragedies from happening:
- Never leave small children unattended around any body of water (pool, bathtub, lake, etc.). Small children don't often think of water as a danger and they are, by nature, very curious. Being left alone in or around water without supervision can be fatal.
- Take small children with you if the phone should ring or if you should have to perform some brief task such as making a sandwich or loading the washing machine rather than trusting toddlers to be careful or to stay away from water while unsupervised.
- Learn CPR especially if you own a pool or live near the water. Valuable lifesaving seconds are lost by having to wait for Emergency Medical Services to arrive to begin CPR. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage or death.
- Encourage older children and adolescents to learn how to swim, but remember even good swimmers can drown.
- Swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision of young children in and around water and no one should ever swim alone.
- Teach children and adolescents to avoid conditions or situations which could create the potential for danger, e.g. swimming in nonpublic, restricted or isolated areas, or swimming in areas with strong, unstable or turbulent currents.
- Swimming pools should be enclosed by a 4-sided fence that is at least 5 feet high and separates the pool area from the house. The fence gate should have a self-closing, self-latching mechanism, which is located on the side of the gate closest to the pool and out of reach of small children. Reaching and/or throwing aids should be readily available.
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