Drowning is the leading causes of death in young children in Hillsborough County. Here’s how to prevent it.
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
Did you know that it only takes 30 seconds for a 30-pound child to drown? In Hillsborough County, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death in children between the ages of 1 and 4.
Child drownings happen quickly and quietly. And, two-thirds of all child drownings occur between May and August. With summer in full swing, here’s what you need to know about unintentional drowning among children and how to prevent it.
Child drownings in Hillsborough County
Each year, nearly 1,000 children under the age of 15 die from drowning. And the majority of these children are under the age of 5. Studies show that an estimated 75 percent of all drowning-related deaths occur in children between 1 and 4.
Florida (and Tampa) has one of the highest rates of unintentional drownings in the country. With lots of pools, waterways, and beach access points, Hillsborough County unfortunately has an alarming amount of unintentional drownings each year.
5 steps to prevent unintentional drowning among children
Install fences and alarms – In Tampa, all residential homes with a pool must have a protective barrier, such as a fence, to keep children from accessing the pool. However, these barriers don’t always work. If you own a pool, consider installing an alarm that sounds every time the fence or barricade is accessed.
Designate a responsible “watcher” – Always have a designated “watcher” to keep an eye on children as they swim at all times. Make sure this person remains present and undistracted (Not on the phone, texting, or prone to walking away).
Use Coast Guard approved life jackets – If you are boating, make sure your child wears a life jacket at all times. And make sure the life jacket is approved by the Coast Guard.
Learn CPR – Be prepared in case the worst happens. CPR is a critical, life-saving skill. If you don’t know CPR or need a refresher, sign-up for an in-person or virtual class this summer. Many non-profit organizations in Tampa offer free CPR classes. Find a course here.
Enroll your child in swimming lessons – Formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning. However, children who have had swimming lessons still need close and constant supervision when in or around water.
What to do if a child drowning occurs: 4 life-saving steps
Get the child out of the water – Ge the child out of the water as quickly as possible. If they are not breathing, lie them flat on their back and begin rescue breathing (below) and have someone else call 9-1-
Infants under the age of 1: Place your mouth over the nose and lips and give two breaths, each lasting about 1 second. Look for the chest to rise and fall.
Children 1 and older: Pinch child’s nose and seal your lips over the mouth. Give two slow, full breaths (1 to 2 seconds each). Wait for the chest to rise and fall before giving the second breath.
If the chest rises after breaths, move to step 3. If not, try rescue breathing a few more times.
Check for a pulse and begin CPR – Check for a pulse by putting two fingers on the side of the child’s neck. Wait five seconds. If there is a pulse, give one breath every three seconds. Check for a pulse every minute and continue rescue breathing until the child is breathing on their own or help arrives.
Never assume it’s too late to save a life – Even if the child is unresponsive, continue performing CPR and do not stop until medical professionals take over. Your efforts could save a life.
Stay safe this summer in Tampa Bay
Nothing beats summer in Tampa Bay! But with lots of pools, waterways and beaches, Hillsborough County is a high-risk zone for child drowning. Keep children safe this summer by following these water safety tips. And remember, we all have a part in preventing child drowning accidents.
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