Florida has one of the highest unintentional drowning rates in the country. Overall, it comes in third behind Alaska and Hawaii. For children under five, however, Florida has by far the most fatal drownings. The Florida Department of Health writes that, as a result of unintentional drownings, each year “enough children to fill four preschool classrooms do not live to see their 5th birthday.”
To prevent unintentional drownings, Florida residents should take note of the people most likely to drown and the locations where the most drownings occur each year in the state:
- Males are more than twice as likely as females to drown or require hospitalization in a water accident
- Florida residents under 10 are the most likely to drown in a swimming pool
- Florida residents over 10 are most likely to drown in natural water
- In 2008, for children under the age of 5 who drowned, 71% drowned in a swimming pool, 10% in a bathtub, and 15% in natural water
- Most drowning deaths occur from April through September
- Florida counties with the most drowning deaths or hospitalizations include Orange, Lee, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade
An Orlando personal injury attorney can help if you or a family member has suffered an injury in water due to the negligence of another.
Water Safety Tips
For boating and recreational activities in natural water, a life jacket is a necessity. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for enforcing safety laws and educating the public about water safety. In 2009, the FWC reported 65 boating deaths, 45 of which involved drowning. Life jackets could have saved many of those lives.
The FWC reports that many people avoid wearing life jackets because they are so bulky and uncomfortable, but this is no longer the case. More modern life jackets include ones that people wear like belts or back packs. Some of these life jackets inflate automatically when a person falls into water, and others inflate once the wearer pulls a cord.
Other water safety tips, particular when children are involved, include the following:
- Never leave children, especially younger ones, unsupervised near water for even a second
- If you have a pool, Jacuzzi or something similar, make sure that you have safety precautions such as fences and locks that children cannot manipulate to enter
- Avoid swimming while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Never swim alone
- Learn life-saving techniques like CPR just in case