It's summer time again, and in Florida, because of its great weather and beautiful waters, that usually means a whole lot more than in many other U.S. cities. Visits to the beach and time in pools increase dramatically. Sadly, without the proper precautions tragedy can lurk in those waters.
Florida had the highest unintentional drowning death rate of toddlers ages 1-4 in the U.S. in the 5 years between 1999 and 2003. This rate is the highest in the nation and 3 times the national rate. In light of this, it is not surprising that unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death of 1-4 year olds in Florida every year. Florida also had the 3rd highest overall unintentional drowning death rate in the U.S. in the 5 years between 1999 and 2003.
These statistics are not presented to scare you, but simply to place you on high alert about the very real dangers out there associated with these common summertime activities so that you can better protect yourself and your family while still having fun in the sun in this gorgeous state. Vigilance is key as evidenced by the statistics: one of the most common causes of child drowning accidents is a lapse in adult supervision.
The following tips are recommended by the CDC in connection with water safety:
1. Designate a responsible adult to supervise young children while in the bath and all children playing in or around the water at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity.
2. Use the buddy system
3. Learn to swim
4. Learn CPR - The minutes waiting for emergency first responders to arrive and attend to a drowning victim can mean the difference between life and death.
5. Use proper life jackets - Air-filled or foam toys are not life saving devices.