Experts give safety tips on pool drowning prevention

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Pool season in Florida means fun in the sun, but that fun could turn deadly if you’re not safe.

“Unfortunately, Bay County has a very high drowning rate,” Boys and Girls Clubs of Bay County CEO Hank Hill said.

Hill said it makes sense for Florida to have the most drownings because we’re surrounded by water. According to the most recent data by the Florida Department of Health, there were 444 deaths from drowning. Fourteen percent, or 62 of those deaths, were children ages one to four.

“It only takes a few seconds for kids to get in trouble in the water,” said Hill.

Hill said the biggest thing parents can do is get their kids swim lessons. Other organizations like the Panama City Swim Team are here to help teach your kids how to be safe in the pools this summer.

“Number one, you need the children to understand danger areas,” Head Coach Brian Haddad said.

Haddad said one dangerous area would be the deep end if you’re not a strong swimmer.

“If you know you have a kid that may not be a strong swimmer, then there are lifejackets, there are things kids can use to protect themselves,” said Hill.

Other water-assisted devices like floaties are also a good idea for extra safety.

“But obviously the best thing to do is learn how to swim without those aids in case an accident does occur. You can put yourself in a situation to save your own life,” said Haddad.

Both agree children should learn how to float comfortably on their backs in case of emergencies.

“Teaching them how to remain calm, how to roll onto their back, get in a very neutral position is very helpful in saving lives,” said Haddad.

While community and backyard pools are a great way for kids to get outside this season, Haddad and Hill said these steps could make that lifesaving difference.

Both The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bay County and the Panama City Swim Team will start offering swim lessons in June.

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