Recent drownings bring awareness to pool safety

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The recent drownings of two toddlers in the bay area is heightening awareness about pool safety. 

Nearly 1,000 children drown in the United States every year, and in Florida, that number is more than double the national average. 

According to St. Joseph’s Children’s Wellness and Safety expert Michelle Sterling, childhood drownings are silent and they are quick.

There are several ways to keep children safe around pools by adding barriers around the pool or alarms on doors, but the main key to safety is supervision. 

“Designate a water watcher where they will be out there with their eyes on, no distractions, keeping watch of the children in the pool, and then they pass along that title to the next adult that’s there,” said Michelle Sterling. 

The City of Tampa is also educating parents and children on pool safety through its largest swimming lesson. 

“It’s so important because water is fun but it’s dangerous. So even though you take swim lessons and you think your children know how to swim, it’s no substitute for supervision. It’s very important to get your kids involved with swim lessons, and they continue because just picking up the basic lifesaving skills is not enough,” said Louis Campanello with Tampa Parks and Recreation Department. 

To participate in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on Thursday, June 20th, click here

Here are more water safety tips from St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital 

  • Actively supervise while children are playing in or near water.
  • Never leave young children unattended in bathtubs, even for a moment. 
  • Never rely on a personal flotation device (armband swimmies, water wings, rafts, etc.) to protect a child.
  • Keep rescue equipment and a telephone poolside
  • For pool owners, install four-sided isolation fencing, at least 5 feet high, and equipped with self-closing, self-latching gates. Fencing should completely surround swimming pools and prevent direct access from a house or yard.
  • Door alarms, pool alarms and pool covers, when used correctly, can add an extra level of protection.
  • Hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.

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