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Prevent water worries; practice swim safety

By Florida Department of Health in Marion County

May 25, 2018


OCALA, Fla.—Each year in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthdays. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

“Drowning is the leading cause of death in Florida for children ages 1 to 4, and Florida’s death by drowning rate for youths ages 1 to 14 is the second highest in the nation,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Health Officer Mark Lander. “The large number of backyard pools in Florida, combined with lakes, springs and the ocean, means that there are ample opportunities for children to fall victim to drowning.”

The nation is finishing up recognizing Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, which runs from May 21 to May 27 this year, and the Department of Health in Marion County is focusing on pool safety. Follow the below simple safety steps to help make pool time safer for the whole family: 

  1. Supervise: Make sure someone is always actively watching when a child is in or near the pool.
  2. Teach your child to swim. Make sure children learn, at minimum, basic water survival skills.
  3. Use barriers: Use child-proof locks on all doors, a pool fence with self-latching and self-closing gates, and door and pool alarms to block a child from accessing the pool.
  4. Practice emergency preparedness. Learn CPR, and have a phone nearby to call 911. If a child stops breathing, there is a small window of time when resuscitation may occur.

Learn more about water and swim safety by visiting,, and