By Cassie McGovern
Water Safety Awareness needs to be a priority all year long, especially for those of us that live in Florida.
Water is Everywhere… From the bathtub, to a bucket, backyard pool, community pool, the beach, canals, retention ponds and even the Everglades. A drowning can occur in as little as 2” of water, being educated is the first step to prevent a tragedy from happening.
Drowning is the number 1 cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, children are very curious and move fast at this age too.
In the US, an average of 3,500 to 4,000 people drown per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day. Drowning remains in the top 5 causes of unintentional injury-related death from birth to 5 years old. 23% of child of drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool. 87% of drowning fatalities happen in home pools or hot tubs for children younger than 5. Most take place in pools owned by family or friends. Children 5 to 17 years old are more likely to drown in natural water, such as ponds and lakes.
Florida suffered the loss of 93 children in 2022 alone and yet drowning is preventable! 93 families in our state alone that have been destroyed by something that is completely preventable. CDC reports that for every 1 fatality, 8 people are impacted by a non-fatal injury.
Key Prevention Tips
• CPR… Everyone should know the basics of swimming (floating, moving, through the water) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
• Swim Lessons… Learning to Swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for 1- to 4-year-olds who take formal swim lessons.
• Barriers Work… Four-sided isolation fences, with self-closing and self-latching, around backyard swimming pools.
• Stay Vigilant… Close supervision is required when kids are in or near water. Drowning happens quickly and quietly, so adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, and talking on the phone.
We urge you to get involved, we all can do something
• Educate your neighbors, colleagues, clients.
• Always remove toys from pool and shut gate once pool time is finished.
• Always assign a Water Watcher during pool time.
Shannon and Cassie McGovern have dedicated their lives to advocacy after the loss of their beautiful 19 month old daughter, Edna Mae on August 3, 2009. They formed McGovern Foundation (www.mcgovernfoundation.com) where they’ve spent the last 13 years educating others so they never experience the same heartache as their family has.
Cassie is now the program manager with the Every Child a Swimmer (ECAS) program. In 2021, the Every Child a Swimmer law was passed in the state of Florida requiring schools to provide water safety information and resources to parents and caregivers. Cassie is now working to have the same legislation passed in other states throughout the country. The program also provides learn to swim scholarships to under-served families. Visit www.everychildaswimmer.org for more information.
Youtube link highlighting the ripple effect that a drowning has on the community. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhdZbqAkHGU
Together, we can save lives and work to make Every Child a Swimmer.