In the Sunshine State, warm temperatures year-round mean that swimming isn’t just limited to the summer. But unfortunately, this can come at a price—Florida’s many bodies of water and long swimming season can increase the risk of drowning and near-drowning, especially for children. In fact, Florida has the highest number of drowning deaths for children age 4 and under.
Who is at Risk of Drowning?
Statistics indicate that toddlers, young children, and non-swimmers are by far the most high-risk groups when it comes to drowning.
But even strong swimmers and those who have spent their entire life around water aren’t immune from drowning or a near-drowning incident, especially in the ocean. It’s important never to assume that you or your child are “immune” from drowning and to always take proper precautions around the water.
What are the Signs of Drowning?
Movies and TV shows depict drowning as a loud and obvious affair, with a victim crying for help, splashing, and thrashing for minutes before going under. But true drowning looks far different. The earliest signs of drowning include:
- Sinking under the water and then bobbing back up silently (especially if the mouth goes underwater)
- Hyperventilating or gasping
- Putting their arms straight forward or down at their sides in an attempt to elevate themselves out of the water
- Glassy or closed eyes
- Hair in their face or eyes
Any of these signs can indicate serious distress. And because drowning can happen in as little as a minute, quick action is imperative.
How Can You Reduce Drowning Risks?
It’s a good idea for all swimmers to utilize the buddy system and avoid swimming alone. Even if you’re confident in your ability to handle the water or don’t plan to go in over your head, a seizure, slip and fall, or another event could cause you to temporarily lose consciousness (and with it, your ability to stay afloat).
It’s also important to ensure that any pools to which a child has access are secured, preferably with a safety alarm that will sound whenever someone enters the pool area. Young children are incredibly curious, often tend to wander, and can’t sufficiently appreciate the dangers posed by an unsecured swimming pool.
Finally, keep a watchful eye on your child whenever they’re near the water, even if they’re generally a strong swimmer. Sadly, many drownings take place just feet from a parent or another adult. Because drowning can occur so quickly, taking even a two-minute break to grab a drink or use the restroom can prove tragic. Instead, work with other adults to make sure there are watchful eyes on all swimming children at all times.
Contact Armando Personal Injury Law at (813) 538-1589 or fill out our confidential contact form. We have offices in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Lakeland, Florida to better serve you and your loved ones.