TAMPA — A 2-year-old girl found dead in a lake near her home Friday may be the 17th child to drown in Florida this year.
Lorie Thermidor’s father realized she was missing at about 3:40 p.m. and called police.
She left her home in the K-Bar Ranch subdivision near Redwood Point Drive and Stallion Fields Way and may have walked into the woods across the street, Tampa police said.
The search quickly grew. Officers were joined by dozens of volunteers. Two bloodhounds and a police helicopter combed the area. Divers were sent to search a lake near the home.
That is where the girl was found, the agency announced at about 8:30 p.m. No other details about the incident have been released.
Every year Florida’s abundance of pools, retention ponds and beaches turn into death traps for some children. 2018 saw a spike in child drownings in Florida, when 88 children died, up 7 percent from 2017. Hillsborough County led the state that year with 11 drownings, more than the previous two years combined.
In 2019, 65 children died in drownings in Florida. Hillsborough led the state again, with eight drownings.
Two children have drowned in Hillsborough County so far this year, according to data published on the Florida Department of Children and Families website. Thermidor’s death is under investigation. If confirmed a drowning, it would be the third.
Keeping children safe:
• Pool owners can install fences with a lock and self-closing gate to keep children away from the pool when an adult is not present. • Installing door alarms can alert a parent or caregiver that an exterior door has been opened, especially if the door has access to any body of water like retention ponds, canals or even fountains. • Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Ensure bathtubs, mop buckets & inflatable pools are drained after each use. • Always provide adult supervision for children in or around water. Children drown silently and in as little as 20 seconds. Designating a “water watcher” is a simple measure that ensures an adult is supervising children at all times when they are in or around water. • Enrolling children in formal swimming lessons reduces their lifetime chances of drowning by 88 percent. • Become CPR Certified. A drowning victim has a significantly increased chance of a positive outcome if CPR is started immediately versus waiting for first responders to arrive.