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The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County: Prevent Needless Deaths

DATA: In 2019, according to the Hillborough County Medical Examiner, there were nine child deaths due to drowning. The annual rate is a little highter over the last 6 years if you look at the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties). Drowning kills more kids ages 1-4 than any other cause.

We can save lives with awareness because these deaths are 100% preventable. We strongly recommend parents and caregivers designate a water watcher. Anyone watching children in the water should be free from distractions. This means no texting, talking on the phone, reading, or playing board games. We make this recommendation because children drown silently and can drown in as little as 20 seconds.

MISSING CHILD: Having a safety whistle is helpful when children are around water. If you notice a child missing, blow the whistle to call everyone’s attention. If a child is missing and there is a pool or you are near a body of water, you should always check the pool first. Two thirds of young kids that have drowned in a pool were last seen in the house.

Toddlers can be very curious about water which is why it is important for all parents and caregivers to install barriers like door alarms, locks out of child reach, and pool fences to keep children from accessing water. The recommendation is to install at least 2 barriers, for example, a door alarm and a pool fence because there is always a chance that one of the barriers may not work. If you are visiting a home with a pool, discuss safety practices with the home owners.

Every child should be enrolled in formal swim lessons. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Formal swim lessons for children under the age of 4 years old cuts the risk of them drowning by 88%. Call your local YMCA or aquatics center to learn more about swim lessons in your area. In addition, caregivers should learn CPR as it saves lives.

Children are our most precious gifts, and it’s our responsibility to keep them safe. The Prevent Needless Deaths awareness campaign educates people in Hillsborough County on how to prevent needless deaths among children related to water safety, safe sleep practices and head trauma prevention. The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County maintains the Prevent Needless Deaths campaign going to keep 100% preventable deaths from happening. This site is meant to help parents and caregivers learn and implement prevention practices. It’s our hope that you’ll share them with caregivers, family and friends too.

For more information visit: childrensboard.org

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