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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Drowning Prevention

Florida Department of Health in Orange County

Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under age 5 in the state of Florida. It is important for everyone to understand that drowning can occur anytime of the year, especially here in the “Sunshine State”.    “All it takes is a matter of seconds and a child can drown.  In fact, children can drown in any body of water including bathtubs, buckets and even toilets.  It is our responsibility as adults and parents to constantly supervise our children,” said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.  Having a pool or a body of water near the home increases a child’s risk of drowning. It is strongly encouraged that pool owners with children use “layers of safety” by:
  • Supervising children at all times
  • Providing proper fencing and covering
  • Keeping pool properly cleaned and maintained 
  • Placing alarms in all entrances to the pool area
  • Having rescue equipment
  • Teaching children water safety and survival or swimming skills
  • Learning rescue techniques such cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Keeping an emergency phone near the pool

Pool owners have the responsibility to educate themselves and to make sure their pool meets all safety requirements necessary to prevent a loss of life.  To ensure safety, install and maintain an isolation fence that completely separates the swimming pool/spa from the house and play area. The enclosure should have four sides with a minimum height of 5-feet and a maximum of 4-inches between the bars.  Gates should also be a minimum height of 5-feet with the same spacing as the fence. Gates should be safe-closing, self -latching, and open away from the pool. NEVER leave gates propped open.  The pool or spa should always have well maintained "layers of protection" such as door alarms, certified pool safety covers, and self-closing, self-latching doors which lead to the pool/spa.

Emergency Procedures

A poolside telephone is an essential part of a safe pool environment. Install a phone, keep a cordless phone, or cell phone in the pool or spa area with you at all times. Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), first-aid and other lifesaving practices Teach family members and babysitters how to contact local emergency medical services. Post CPR, safety instructions, and the 911emergency phone number in an easy-to-see place.

Supervision

Teach pool safety rules to all family members and babysitters. Emphasize the need for constant supervision.  Keeps toys, tricycles and other children's play things away from the pool or spa areas. NEVER leave a child unsupervised in or near any body of water even for a second!  Don't rely on "water wings" or any flotation device to keep your child afloat. They are not fool proof and no substitute for supervision. NEVER consider you child "drown-proof" even after swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision by a responsible adult.