Officials Stress Pool Safety
Kids are out of school so more will be in the pool, increasing the chance of accidents and drownings.
The start of the busiest season for swimming prompted Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to join other local leaders from Broward and Miami-Dade Counties to promote responsible behavior around pools and other bodies of water in order to prevent potential tragedies.
"Drowning, unlike what most people's perception is, is a silent killer," the Congresswoman said at the Driftwood Community Pool where summer swim lessons were beginning. "It happens in just a few minutes and it is something that does not have large thrashing sounds or a lot of noise associated with it."
The local numbers of fatal drownings have come down since the 1990s when there was an average of ten children aged four and under dying per year in Broward but the statewide trend has actually increased. Many other children who do not immediately drown from accidents in the water wind up with debilitating brain injuries and other defects.
"We really encourage not just adults, but anyone in the household that's thirteen and older to learn CPR," said Linda Olson from Water Smart Broward. "It's just so important."
While there are many safeguards in place to keep young children out of the water when unsupervised, including measures initiated by legislation that Wasserman Schultz passed at the state and national level, officials agree that one of the best ways for children to avoid trouble is to make sure they know what to do when in the water.
"It's very important that parents that did not learn how to swim, and they so-called 'fear the water,' that they don't pass the fear to children," said Captain Luiz Morizot of the Miami-Dade Fire Resuce Ocean Rescue team, noting that learning to swim is mandatory in other countries. "Prevention with kids works well as they are little ones. But that little kid one day will become an adult and as an adult, there is no more close supervision. You are your own supervision."
In addition to offering public pools and recreation areas, both counties offer public swim lessons and offer financial assistance to help lower-income families also benefit from instruction to avoid a tragedy later on.
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