As families flock to beaches and swimming pools this summer, water safety and drowning prevention should be top priorities.
The Center for Disease Control reports about 10 people drown every day. Among those, two are children age 14 or younger.
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the number one killer of children ages 1 to 4 in Florida.
Hernando County Fire Rescue offers a drowning prevention program designed to bring awareness to the dangers of water and the importance of safety in and around pools, lakes, at the beach and around the home.
Potential drowning hazards include:
♦ Ponds, lakes and rivers
♦ Canals and creeks
There is no substitute for adult supervision in and around any body of water where children are present. Consider that a child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water.
The county’s Child Drowning and Prevention Program focuses on helping people take an active role in preventing the dangers that already have resulted in preventable drowning deaths this summer.
The Family YMCA of the Suncoast is also at the forefront of changing drowning statistics in the community. Through water safety classes, swimming lessons and other precautions designed to help prevent accidental drowning, parents and caregivers can provide another level of protection.
The YMCA provides “Splash Camp,” water safety, pool safety, and swimming lessons to help ensure the safety of Hernando residents.
Other precautions include becoming knowledgeable about potential hazards and applying certain precautions around any body of water. The Center for Disease Control reports that the factors contributing to accidental drowning include:
♦ Lack of swimming ability
♦ Lack of barriers
♦ Lack of close supervision
♦ Failure to wear life jackets
♦ Seizure disorders
Other important preventative measures include:
♦ Learning CPR
♦ Wearing life jackets instead of air filled ‘water wings’ or other floating devices
♦ Not allowing children to hyperventilate before swimming underwater or encouraging games of prolonged breath-holding which could lead to drowning
♦ Knowing the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating
♦ Watching for dangerous waves and rip currents
The bottom line: All water activities should be supervised heavily and every precaution put in place — especially when children are in and around any type of water.
Hernando County Fire Rescue is available to provide additional information on drowning prevention upon request.
For more information, contact the agency at (352) 754-5800. You also can visit the YMCA of the Suncoast website at www.ymcasuncoast.org/hernando.
Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org.