Child drownings down in Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. – New data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows while Florida leads the nation in child drownings, the state has seen a ten-percent drop in the numbers of deaths this year. The Commission said from January through November 2015, there have been 44 media-reported child drownings in pools and spas in Florida.

Before she could walk, Sophia Lison was learning how to float. Her parents enrolled her in Infant Swimming Resource lessons or ISR and she has already mastered how to self-rescue if she falls into the pool. Her ISR instructor Judy Fernandez was on hand to help show off Sophia’s skills.

ISR instructor Kathy Cole teaches babies like Sophia as early as six months old.

“I just think that it’s so important to give children an extra layer of protection so that if they happen to find the water alone, if all the other barriers breakdown… that they’re able to have that last layer of protection to help themselves,” she explained.

Her lessons run 10 minutes, five times a week and during them babies learn to float and roll over if they fall face first in the water. But she stresses these lessons should be used in conjunction with other important safety steps.

“Constant eyes-on supervision, then the barriers, the alarms, locks up high on the doors, definitely pool fences, making sure that your pool furniture that’s around the pool fence is heavy that children can’t move furniture over to the edge because that’s a big thing,” explained Cole. “Those are the main lines of defense and then ISR lessons, self rescue lessons are the last lines of the defense.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely campaign also urges parents to follow these guidelines around water:

·         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.”

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