Water Safety

History of the Pediatric Drowning Prevention Task Force

The Coral Springs Pediatric Drowning Prevention Task Force is a collaborative effort of the Coral Springs Fire Department, the Broward Health Coral Springs, the City of Coral Springs and the American Red Cross. We've gathered our resources together because we've seen the number of drownings and near drownings increase and felt we had to do something to reverse this trend.

Our slogan for this campaign is, "Watch Your Kid. You'll Be Glad You Did." It only takes seconds for an unattended child to get into trouble in the backyard pool, canal or pond.

To help you better understand the issues we'll start with some definitions.

  • Drowning: Death resulting from suffocation within 24 hours of submersion in water.
  • Near drowning: Survival for greater than 24 hours after submersion in water.

Interestingly, the location for most prevalent drowning occurrences is driven by the child's age.

  • Under 1 year of age-bathtubs and buckets are most common.
  • 1 to 4 years of age-home or apartment pool are the most common locations.
  • 5 to 19 years of age-lakes, ponds, rivers and pools become more prevalent.

Supervision of the child at the time of drowning is another surprising fact.

  • 69% of the time - one or both parents were supervising
  • 14% of the time - sitters were in charge
  • 10% of the time - adults other than parents were there
  • 7% of the time - siblings were supervising.

Is there a pool that is more susceptible than others? Yes, the child's own pool.

  • 65% of pool drownings are in the pool owned by the child's family.
  • 22% of pool drownings are in a pool owned by a relative.
  • 11% of pool drownings are in a neighbors pool.

Do you know where your child is? When asked where the child was last seen prior to the drowning:

  • 46% said the child was last seen in the home (15% thought to be sleeping)
  • 31% said that the child was seen in the pool or pool area
  • 23% said they had last seen the child in yard, porch or patio (but not the pool area)

This means that 69% were thought not to be in the pool area. 77% of the time that child was seen five minutes before being missed and subsequently found in pool and 69% of the time the child was in the care of one or both parents.

Here are the layers of protection recommended to prevent pediatric drowning:

  1. Parental supervision
  2. Pool safety barrier separating pool from home and all access doors and entrances
  3. Access doors to pool with high locks
  4. Alarms on access door
  5. Floating pool alarm
  6. Learn CPR and rescue techniques