Child drownings hit record number in Florida

Last year, Florida saw more child drownings than any previous year. 98 children drown, making Florida fourth in the U.S. for child drownings.

Advocates want to educate about why this may be happening and hope to prevent future tragedies.

Many parents are either new to Florida or just visiting, so they aren’t used to their children being surrounded by water all the time. Another reason experts say drowning numbers could’ve gone up – children didn’t have access to swimming lessons during the pandemic.

For kids splashing around in pools, it seems all fun and games. But for parents, if they take their eyes off of their kids for even a moment, tragedy could strike.

A record 98 kids drowned in Florida in 2021. Terri Ballo is the president of the Florida Drowning Prevention Foundation. “It’s just so sad and, it’s discouraging because those of us who work in the drowning prevention arena work so hard to educate and to help families understand about drowning,” said Ballo.

Bridget Davis owns goldfish swim school. “It’s so heartbreaking, and every one of these are accidents and, they’re all preventable,” said Davis.

Both Davis and Ballo believe that many of these deaths occur because so many people are moving to Florida as vacationers or residents.

“These kids are coming from up north. They don’t know how to swim. There’s no pool fence around the pool. Everyone’s on vacation, and they’re just having a good time. I can’t even imagine coming here on vacation and living without your child. It’s just horrific,” said Ballo,

The Consumer Product and Safety Commission gave the State of Florida more than $360,000 from the pool safety grant program to fight this growing trend. The money will be used to promote pool education, training and enforcement of pool safety requirements. The commission hopes this will prevent more deaths like this.

Most parents find their kids within five minutes of them falling into the water. This is why supervision is a must. Also, experts say it’s a good idea to have to layer of protection around a pool at all times, including a pool fence and alarm.

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Drew Hill
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