Miami, Florida – Drowning is the number one cause of death among children in Miami-Dade County. With Summer approaching, more children will be in or near swimming pools, at beaches, water parks and lakes. This increased exposure to water coincides with an increase in the number of drownings. For this reason, it is extremely important that children are taught about water safety.
The Miami-Dade Fire Department has responded to 199 drownings since January 2007. Most of those involved children under 16 years old and 32% involved children under 5 years old. In Miami, most drowning incidents occur between 11:00am and 6:00pm peaking between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. The majority of Miami drownings and near drownings occur in the Summer months from May through August. MDFR has already responded to 11 drowning incidents just since January of 2009.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has prepared the following list of Summer Safety Tips to help keep our children safe:
• Always think of the ocean, lakes and your pool as dangerous places.
• Always directly supervise children when they are in a pool or around any body of water. Young children can drown in just a few inches of standing water. Bathtubs and large buckets also pose a threat. Most childhood drownings occur without an adult immediately present.
• Keep a phone at poolside so you don’t have to leave the kids to answer the phone and so you can call 9-1-1 immediately in case of an emergency.
• Never assume that swimming lessons or flotation devices can completely protect a child from drowning. Don’t have a false sense of security!
• Install alarms on all doors that lead into a pool area so you will know if a door to the pool has been opened.
• Secure long hair to the head, braid it, or cover it with a cap. Long hair can get suctioned into defective pool drains and vacuum lines.
• Make sure that all family members learn how to swim and what to do if they see someone in trouble in the water.
• Have your family members learn CPR. Drowning victims have a better chance of surviving if they get assistance right away.
• Know and comply with the Florida and Miami-Dade County statutes for pool fencing and pool safety. Pool fencing has been proven to save the lives of many children.
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