From Saturday evening, through Sunday morning, June 16-17, 2012, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has received three drowning related calls for service involving small children.
The first incident occurred at approximately 6:48 pm, on Saturday, June 16, 2012, when a 5-year-old girl from Okechobee was visiting with family members at an Aldridge Lane residence in Davenport. Several family members, children and adults, were in the pool together when one adult noticed the 5-year-old at the bottom of the pool. Family members pulled the child out of the water, performed CPR and the child was revived. Responding emergency medical personnel further stabilized the child and transported her to Arnold Palmer in stable condition.
At approximately 8:12 pm, on Saturday, June 16, 2012, a two-year-old child was visiting a Trailsman Lane residence in Lakeland with his parents. The group was celebrating a friend’s birthday and there was a large group of people attending. The child, a Mulberry resident, wandered away from his parents and could not be located for approximately 15 minutes. Ultimately, the child was found floating in a pool on the property. The toddler was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. He is listed in very critical condition.
At approximately 11:22 am, Sunday, June 17, 2012, PCSO deputies again responded to a near drowning of a 21-month old boy. This incident occurred at a residence on Hilltop Lane in Davenport. The child’s three-year-old sibling opened the door to the pool area of the residence and the toddler wandered into the water. The child’s mother found her son unresponsive, pulled him from the water and performed CPR. Emergency medical personnel responded and further stabilized the toddler. He was transported to Arnold Palmer as a precaution. He is listed in stable condition.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children age 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.” (http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html)
It only takes a few moments for a normal day to turn tragic. The following tips are offered in hopes of preventing tragic drowning or water-related accidents
* Never leave small children unattended around any body of water (pool, bathtub, lake, etc.). Small children don't often think of water as a danger and they are, by nature, very curious. Being left alone in or around water without supervision can be fatal.
* Take small children with you if the phone should ring or if you should have to perform some brief task such as making a sandwich or loading the washing machine rather than trusting toddlers to be careful or to stay away from water while unsupervised.
* Learn CPR especially if you own a pool or live near the water. Valuable lifesaving seconds are lost by having to wait for Emergency Medical Services to arrive to begin CPR. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage or death.
* Encourage older children and adolescents to learn how to swim, but remember even good swimmers can drown.
* Swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision of young children in and around water and no one should ever swim alone.
* Teach children and adolescents to avoid conditions or situations which could create the potential for danger, e.g. swimming in nonpublic, restricted or isolated areas, or swimming in areas with strong, unstable or turbulent currents.
* Swimming pools should be enclosed by a 4-sided fence that is at least 5 feet high and separates the pool area from the house. The fence gate should have a self-closing, self-latching mechanism, which is located on the side of the gate closest to the pool and out of reach of small children. Reaching and/or throwing aids should be readily available.