Drowning kids: What you can do to stop this
Whenever you see a story like this in which a 3-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool over the weekend, your heart just about stops. According to the Department of Health, Florida has the highest drowning death rate in the United States for children ages 1-4 years. From 1999-2003, the state recorded 356 accidental drowning deaths among children in this age group. Swimming pool drownings are most common in children under age 5.
Florida law does require that new residential swimming pools be built with safety devices aimed at preventing drownings. But that law doesn't apply to the estimated 1-million residential pools that already exist in Florida, a 2006 Times story noted. It only applies to the 23,000 new pools that are built or sold each year. If your pool is grandfathered in, it's probably a good idea to get some type of protection for it anyway.
So, what can you do to make sure that kids are safe around the pool? For starters, teach kids how to swim, which Whoa Momma blogger Sharon Kennedy Wynne suggested earlier this summer. It should never give you a false sense of security, but it certainly will help that they know the basics. And Sharon equates it to a kid learning how to ride a bike: You wouldn't leave him alone on I-75 with his bike, and you shouldn't take your eyes off the kids around the pool.
And check out these tips on how to feel safer around the pool with kids. Even if you think you are always careful, it never hurts to refresh yourself on some of the basics. We should do everything we can to make sure that not one more kid is a statistic.
-- Sherry Robinson