Drowning is Quick and Quiet
In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky . . . (lyrics courtesy of Mungo Jerry) and guess what? We are all flocking to the beach, the lakes and our back yard swimming pools steadily searching for relief from the scorching heat! A body of water is attractive, it is refreshing and luring. In 2007, natural bodies of water were responsible for 43% of all recreational drownings, 9% occurred as a result of boating accidents and 19% of drownings occurred in swimming pools that same year.
The highest risk of drowning for both males and females is between the ages of 1 and 4. It is the leading cause of death in children of this age. This risk decreases from the ages of 5 to 14, then increases substantially from ages 15 on through adulthood.
Drowning is Quick and Quiet! In Florida, drowning deaths of children age 5 is the highest in the nation. Enough children drown each year in Florida to fill about four (4) pre-school classrooms. It happens year around, but is most prevalent in the months of Spring and Summer. Children can drown in less than 2 inches of water. Over 25% of all drownings (in Florida) occur in swimming pools with adults present, but preoccupied!
Some Florida Facts:
- Children under the age of 10 are most likely to drown in a swimming pool
- Children over the age of 10 are most likely to drown in a natural body of water
- In 2007, 76% of drowning victims in a swimming pool were children under the age of 5.
- In 2007, 13% of drowning victims in a bath tub were children under the age of 5.
- In 2007, 10% of drowning victims in a natural body of water were children under the age of 5.
How Can We Prevent Accidental Drowning?
In May 2013, the American Red Cross launched easy to remember steps to help people stay safe in, on and around water as well as what to do to assist someone who is drowning. The program, is titled “Circle of Drowning Prevention and Chain of Drowning Survival Boost Water Safety Awareness”. The Red Cross will provide posters that depict steps that people can take to stay safe in, on or around water. You can contact your local Red Cross for these infographic materials which are free to the public.
A few of the bullet-points listed are:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
- Always swim with a buddy
- Ensure that everyone in the family swims well, by enrolling in age-appropriate Red Cross Water Orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses
- NEVER leave a child to supervise another child
- Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub
- Remove access ladders or any furniture that can assist children accessing above ground and/or inflatable pools
- Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight as toys can attract young children
- Always have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone
You can download the complete list of preventative measures at http://www.redcross.org/watersafety.
To find your local Red Cross chapter go to: www.redcross.org. Input your zip code and you will be directed to the chapter nearest you.