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Florida drownings increase during pandemic as families stay home

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Posted at 1:14 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 07:48:49-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- More people, including kids, are home right now as social distancing during COVID-19 continues.

Annually, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown before their fifth birthday, according to Florida Health.

RELATED: Florida drowning deaths up 70% from this time last year, nonprofit says

The Children's Board of Hillsborough County believes there is a correlation between the number of children drowning and the pandemic.

"As we're staying home mom and dad or both caregivers on the call for work and an older child is during homework and one thinks the other is watching the infant," Dexter Lewis with the Children's Board says. "We want to make sure those secondary barriers are in place those include door alarms and pool fences."

The board recommends having an alarm on doors that lead to the pool area, so if it's opened it makes a loud noise. But, also having a pool fence and an alarm on that.

Lewis says remember, drowning isn't like you see on TV. It only takes about 20 seconds and it's silent.

Additional tips:

  • Never leave a child alone in or near water.
  • Always take responsibility and designate an official water watcher.
  • Teach your children how to swim.
  • Teach your children to stay away from drains and suction outlets.
  • Install proper barriers, covers and alarms around your spa and/or pool.
  • Be prepared and know how to perform CPR on children and adults

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between ages one and four, and Florida leads the country with the number of drowning deaths, according to Florida Health.

You can read more about Children's Board of Hillsborough County's efforts by, clicking here.