Crime and Public Safety Beat: Florida Sees Tragic Increase In Fatal Pool Or Spa Drownings

By Tamas Mondovics

Fall has begun and students have gone back to school prompting parents to focus on transportation and school safety. The end of the summer vacation however, does not mean the end of pool and spa drowning danger.

A recent news release by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USPSC) posted some alarming data for the state of Florida for child drowning this summer, drawing attention to the continued need for parents to remain vigilant.

According to the USPSC’s Pool Safely campaign, while the nationwide summer 2017 child pool and spa is encouraging, there is still much work to be done to stop 100 percent preventable child drowning.
The release stated that media reports collected by the USA Swimming Foundation, showed at least 163 children under the age of 15 drowned in a swimming pool or spa during summer 2017 counting from Memorial Day to Labor Day, a nearly 30 percent decrease from the 205 children who drowned in the same time period last year.

The report also showed that of the 163 reports, 112 of the victims or nearly 70 percent, were children younger than age five.

Unfortunately, Florida was especially hard hit this season as 25 children were victims of a fatal pool or spa drowning making it the No.1 state in the nation.

The data means a more than 50 percent increase from summer 2016 when there were at least 14 child pool and spa drownings.

In total, Florida has seen 41 media-reported fatal child pool and spa drownings so far this year.
Quoted in the USPSC news release Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said, “Each one of these deaths is a tragedy, which serves as a sobering reminder of how dangerous water can be for young children. Even though summer is over and children are back in school, pools are still open in warm weather states and indoor swim parks. I encourage all families to follow The Pool Safely Campaign and follow the simple steps that save lives whenever they’re enjoying time in or near the water.”

A few reminders, safety tips and simple steps to keep children safer in and around the water include:

• Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas.
• Designate an adult Water Watcher to supervise children at all times around the water.
• Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
• Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
• Teach children to stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
• Ensure any pool or spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.

The Pool Safely campaign was launched in 2010 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to raise awareness about pool and spa safety, as mandated by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

Visit PoolSafely.gov/Pledge to take the Pledge to help prevent drowning.