July 31, 2011 TAMPA — “A 1-year-old boy died Sunday after drowning in a 5-gallon bucket of water, authorities said.  He slipped out of his parents’ sight for 10 minutes.  His body was found upside down in 5 inches of water in a bucket in the garage.”

July 31, 2011 ST. PETERSBURG — “A 19-year-old Haitian man apparently drowned Saturday afternoon during a beach trip with church friends at Fort De Soto Park.  Around 2:30 p.m., he decided to go in the water. Others in the group began looking for him and spotted him floating, Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies said.  He was pulled to shore and given CPR.  Emergency crews rushed him to All Children’s Hospital, where he died.”

Summer weather is far from over here in the Tampa Bay area.  The headlines the last weekend in July were a grim reminder of the importance of practicing water safety in and around the home, as well as in backyard pools and at the beach.  These two tragedies demonstrate how important it is to supervise kids; for, kids’ last concern is the dangers associated with water.

Backyard Swimming Pool Safety Tips:

  • Actively supervise your children around water at all times
  • Install four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching gate Hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.
  • Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.
  • From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age 4 – typically the earliest age when they are likely to practice and retain information. Teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the shore.
  • Learn CPR and know how to respond in water emergencies

Home Drowning Prevention Tips:

  • Never leave your child alone or in the care of older children during bath time.
  • Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub.
  • Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks.
  • Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
  • Children in baby bath seats and rings must be watched every second.

Open Water Safety Tips:

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Appoint a designated “water watcher”, taking turns with other adults.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age 4 – typically the earliest age when they are likely to practice and retain information.  Teach children how to tread water, float, and stay by the shore.
  • Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
  • Do not let kids operate personal watercraft such as jet skis.  These are intended for adults and require special training.
  • Teach children not to dive into oceans, lakes, or rivers because you never know how deep the water is and what might be hidden under the surface of the water.

Provided by the City of Seminole Fire Rescue – Safety Bulletin, August, 2011

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