Our network

Polk County Fire Rescue urges drowning prevention | Families

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Polk County Fire Rescue urges drowning prevention
Families, Health, News
Polk County Fire Rescue urges drowning prevention

Polk County, Florida-- During the summer, many people crowd the beaches and pools to cool off and have a good time, but Polk County's Health Department wants to remind residents of the risk of drowning, and encourage safe ways to beat the heat in the water.

Polk County Fire Rescue Division reps say it’s imperative to teach and learn water-related injury prevention techniques, and even more so for young children, who make up more than one-in-five victims of fatal drowning incidents.

Department reps sent additional statistics to stress the importance of water safety:

  • From 2003 to 2012 there were 3,733 unintentional drownings in Florida.
  • Polk County was  tenth with 36 deaths by drowning.
  • In 2010, 14 percent of deaths of children between one and four-years-old were from drowning.
  • Rates are slowly declining but it still remains the third-leading cause of unintentional-injury related death for children ages 0-10 years old.

“We are losing too many of our children to drowning, tragically cutting their young lives short and leaving families devastated, “ said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief David Cash. “Install a pool fence and use it properly and teach young children to swim. Vigilance around the pool can save lives."

In addition to Chief Cash’s suggestions, the health department urges you to consider these safety tips from the CDC:

  • Always supervise when in or around water - Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone or mowing the lawn) while supervising children.
  • Use a Buddy System - Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible.
  • Avoid alcohol - Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating- or water skiing. Never drink alcohol while supervising children.
  • Learn to swim - Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) - In the time it might take for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference in someone’s life. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to improve outcomes in drowning victims.
  • Air-filled or foam toys are not safety devices - Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles” or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets (personal flotation devices). These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • If you have a swimming pool at home:
  • Install four-sided fencing - Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence should be at least four feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children. Also, consider additional barriers such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent access or alert you if someone enters the pool area.
  • Clear the pool and deck of toys - Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.

For more information on water safety and drowning prevention, visit www.cdc.gov.  For more information on Polk County Fire Rescue visit, www.polkfire.net.

Written by 10 News intern, Stefante Randall

Families, Health, News

Polk County Deals

Polk County Businesses