TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — School is almost out for the summer, meaning pool season is about to be in full swing.
Hillsborough County is partnering up with Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City as well as the Children’s Board to help prevent pool injuries and drownings.
One child lost to drowning is one too many. Since 2014, there have been 97 child drowning deaths in the Tampa Bay area.
“This is a 100% preventable child death,” said Dexter Lewis, Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.
Lewis said there were eight confirmed drownings in the county in 2022. This year, there have been three drownings, including the incident involving Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett’s 2-year-old daughter.
Code enforcement is inspecting dozens of public and private pools on Hillsborough County’s first annual Safe Pools Day to ensure safety standards are met. Officer Larry Hoffman visited a Tampa apartment complex.
“It’s extremely important that we get out here, it’s obviously a life safety issue,” said Hoffman.
Around the pool, Hoffman checked to make sure barriers were intact, made sure self-locking gates were out of children’s reach.
Kids can drown in as little as an inch of water, depending on their size.
“Install those barriers make sure there’s a pool fence,” said Lewis. “Make sure there’s a door alarm. Most importantly, designate a water watcher.”
Lewis is asking parents to take CPR lessons and to enroll their kids in swimming lessons.
“As soon as six months, they can start learning the fight or flight skills where they can learn better, they’re in a body of water they can turn over on their back and breathe,” said Lewis.
Code enforcement violations can result in citations and fines, but really officers are focused on education and compliance.