It’s Summertime

It’s summertime once again in the Tampa Bay region. A time for outdoor activities and fun in the sun. Many of these activities will take place around water – trips to the beach, a water park or picnics at one of the many beautiful public parks here in Pinellas County. This is a time to be especially vigilant when it comes to your children and water safety awareness.

For children ages one to four, drowning is the second-leading cause of preventable death. In fact, Florida loses more children under age five to accidental drowning than any other state in the nation.

In less than 20 seconds, a child can drown in as little as one inch of water…without making a sound.

For children under age one, bathtubs, buckets, toilets and even your pet’s water dish pose a threat. Once children learn to walk, all bodies of water – ponds, lakes, canals, spas and swimming pools – present dangers. In fact, about eight out of every 10 child drowning death occurs in home swimming pools – yours, your neighbor’s or your relative’s – and the majority of small children who drown in a pool were last seen in the house. Th e message is a simple one: any child can drown, any time, any place. So, every one of us needs to know these important facts and share them.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to enroll your child in a swim safety program. Formal swimming lessons for children under age four cuts the risk of drowning by 88%!

That’s why the Juvenile Welfare Board has teamed up with the Tampa Bay Rays, United Way Suncoast and YMCAs throughout Pinellas County to proudly support Be Water Smart from the Start. This program off ers water safety courses and swim lessons free of charge for Pinellas County children.

As leaders in drowning prevention, the YMCA of the Suncoast and YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg urge parents and caregivers to take advantage of this program, and to make the YMCA your home base for swim safety this summer!

For more information about the Be Water Smart from the Start program, please visit ymcatampabay.org.

Its Summertime

Water Safety Tips

1. #1 prevention method: adult supervision
at all times!
2. Eliminate distractions. Put down the cell phone
and don’t leave children alone in the bathtub to
answer the door bell.
3. When together in a large group, designate a
“Water Watcher” and take turns to ensure at least
one adult is watching the children around water.
4. Formal swimming lessons for children under 4
cut the risk of drowning by 88%.
5. Learn CPR!
6. Install barriers around bodies of water – locked
gates/fences and use door alarms.