It only takes a minute. You look away, you may not hear the splash and your child is nowhere in sight. Drowning – the harsh reality of losing a child in as little as 20 seconds.
Sadly, in 2012, Broward County lost nine children under the age of four to drowning accidents, and since January 2013, there have been two more. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is committed to educating parents and caregivers about taking precautions to help end these preventable tragedies.
Living in South Florida, we are surrounded by water. Although children may know how to swim, if left unsupervised, they can drown in less than two inches of water. When participating in outdoor water activities, I encourage you to follow these safety-conscious behaviors:
- Never leave a child alone around water – not even for a moment!
- Teach your child to swim as soon as he or she is able to crawl.
- Always designate an Official Water Watcher. Similar to a “designated driver,” this person is solely responsible for keeping an eye on children in or around any body of water.
- Avoid distractions while watching children around a pool (i.e., texting, talking on the phone, barbecuing or sleeping).
- Utilize layers of protection including self-closing gates, locks on gates and doors and pool covers.
- All doors leading to any body of water should have an audible alarm to indicate when they are being opened.
- Keep lifesaving equipment nearby, including a cell phone, reach pole, and life preservers with a rope.
- Any time a child is missing, immediately search all bodies of water first. Do not scan; look thoroughly!
- Learn CPR.
As we enter the summer months, I encourage you to visit www.sheriff.org/drowning to fill out a Pool Safety Survey and assess the water safety precautions you have in place for your family. As a central part of the Drowning Prevention Task Force, the Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Division also provides community education and awareness seminars to public and private organizations, such as condo associations, schools and businesses to help you identify potential hazards. To schedule a seminar for your community or business, please call 954.831.8210.
While you are out enjoying a fun day in the water this summer, please remember to be responsible and practice safety. Make a commitment to safeguard our children from becoming victims of this entirely preventable tragedy.
As always, you can stay up-to-date on BSO news and information when you become a fan of our Facebook page (Broward Sheriff’s Office – Official), follow us on Twitter@browardsheriff or sign up for our CyberVisor program.
Stay safe and enjoy your summer!
Sheriff Scott Israel
Certain Broward cities and towns maintain their own police departments, however, BSO does provide communications and dispatch services to the following cities.
Central Broward, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale. Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, West Park, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Southwest Ranches, Tamarac, Weston and unincorporated West Broward.