In 2020, there were 68 preventable fatalities of children due to drowning in Florida. The heartbreaking reality is that out of those 68, 81% were 3 and under. Teaching water awareness to young children is extremely important. Drowning can happen in any body of water, not just pools. In fact, children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. This May, we bring awareness to water safety as the nation delivers safety messages to protect your loved ones.
Tips to keep your family safe around water:
Constant adult supervision– Determine who will be the water watcher and provide them with a lanyard. (Water Watcher lanyards are available for free at the Crime Prevention Office located at the Port Charlotte Town Center Mall.)
Install a pool fence- There are actually local organizations that will assist you with this. Check out Just Against Child Drowning Foundation.
Install home security- secondary barriers such as house door alarms, water disturbance alarms and child immersion alarms.
Life Jackets- Kids that are not strong swimmers should wear US Coast Guard-approved, well-fitting life jackets
Set water safety rules for the whole family — for example, kids should never swim alone, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep, don’t dive into water less than 9 feet deep, stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings, etc.
Remove toys. Don’t leave pool toys in the water. A child might fall into the water while trying to retrieve a toy.
Toilets, bathtubs and buckets
A baby can drown in just 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water. A curious toddler can fall into a toilet, bucket, or fish tank. Consider these precautions:
- Keep the bathroom door closed. Install a safety latch or doorknob cover on the outside of the door.
- Supervise bath time. Never leave a child alone in the bathtub or in the care of another child. Drain water from the tub immediately after use.
- Shut toilet lids. Consider installing childproof locks on lids.
- Store buckets safely. Empty buckets and other containers immediately after use. Don’t leave them outside, where they might accumulate water.
Resources to assist in teaching kids to be water aware:
- SplashZone Coloring Book – This coloring book, for children ages 4 to 7, teaches water safety in a fun way.
- Longfellow’s WHALE Tales Program – What’s better than learning about swim and water safety? Learning about it from a fun whale named Longfellow. These short, educational videos teach children everything from why it’s important to swim in pairs to how too much sun is no fun.
“Family days spent by the pool or the beach are special and create lasting memories. By following the above safety precautions, you can make certain those memories are joyful for all.”Sheriff Bill Prummell