We talk with the Children's Board of Hillsborough County about how to prevent needless child deaths. They highlight the importance of water safety.
In 2020, according to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner, there were 7 child deaths due to drowning. In the last 7 years 81 children under the age of 6 years old have drowned in Tampa Bay. Those drownings have occurred in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties combined. Drowning kills more kids ages 1-4 than any other cause.
The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County is invested in ensuring Hillsborough County children and families learn about water safety. Get your child enrolled in formal swim lessons. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Formal swim lessons for children under the age of 4 years old cut the risk of them drowning by 88%. All parents and caregivers should learn CPR as it saves lives. Call your local YMCA or aquatics center to learn more about swim lessons in your area. In fact, the Children’s Board Mobile Swim program provides free swim lessons for children ages 3-14 throughout Hillsborough County at apartment complexes and HOA pools.
The good news is that this is 100% preventable. We strongly recommend parents and caregivers designate a water watcher. All caregivers watching children in the water should eliminate all distractions. No texting, talking on the phone, no reading, or playing board games. We make this recommendation because children drown silently and can drown in as little as 20 seconds. Another tip is to have a water safety whistle when your children are around water. If you notice your child missing blow the whistle to ensure they are safe. If your child is missing and you have a pool or you live near a body of water, we tell parents to always check the pool first. Two-thirds of small kids that have drowned in a pool were last seen in the house.
Toddlers can be very curious about water which is why it is important that parents and caregivers Install barriers like door alarms, locks, and pool fences at your home to keep your child from accessing water. Also be sure that any home your child is visiting, with a pool, has a fence. Install at least 2 barriers, for example install a door alarm and a pool fence because there is always a chance that one of the barriers may not work. The locks should be out of reach of the child.
For more information please visit www.preventneedlessdeaths.com.