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New data shows Florida children drowning in swimming pools at alarming rate

Swimming pool
Posted at 3:04 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 12:11:07-04

FLORIDA (WTXL) - Florida experienced 9 fatal child drownings during the month of July, putting the state in the top 3 for drownings during the month, according to the USA Swimming Foundation.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely campaign is urging Florida residents to take extra precaution in and around the water. 

They say that as temperatures continue to rise and opportunities for children to be in and around water increases, parents need to be extra vigilant when it comes to water safety. 

Officials say that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 – 4.

The CDC says drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years.

But drowning isn't the only thing parents need to be worried about.

Dry and secondary drowning present a lingering danger as these incidents can occur even after your child is done swimming.

The American Osteopathic Association says that although rare, dry and secondary drowning incidents can occur anytime up to 24 hours later.

According to Mark A. Mitchell, DO, an osteopathic​ emergency medicine physician from Chicago, dry and secondary drowning can happen after inhaling water through the nose or mouth.

Dry drowning occurs when "water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing", unlike secondary drowning, which happens when water gets into the lungs, causing breathing difficulties. 

If your child has recently had a near-drowning experience, or inhaled a large amount of water, Dr. Mitchell suggests watching them for trouble breathing, coughing, sleepiness or a drop in energy level, irritability, chest pain, and/or vomiting.

Dr. Mitchell recommends that parents treat these signs as a medical emergency and urges you to go to the hospital. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shared the following tips for parents:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water.
  • Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted.
  • Learn how to swim, and teach your child how to swim.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards, and if you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safe drain covers and ask your public pool if their drains are “VGB compliant.”
  • Take the Pool Safely Pledge as a family before you go in or near the water this year.