One of the benefits of living in Florida is not having to deal with snowy and icy conditions very often. With sunny, warm weather all year long, it is no wonder people in our state, visitors and residents alike, spend so much time in the water.
This fact is not without consequences, however. Water activities are inherently risky. That is why Florida sat at the top of the list for most child drownings in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Miami Herald.
Florida lost 51 children to drowning incidents in 2017, beating every other state in the nation. This is a 20 percent increase from the year before. The next two states had less than half the deaths Florida did (25).
The numbers come from reports by the USA Swimming Foundation, which looked at national drownings of minors under 16 years old. Most children (80 percent) who drowned, though, were not even 5 years old. The statistics do not include children who nearly drowned, failing to reveal how much bigger the problem is.
Why are so many children in danger of drowning? For better or worse, many of the causes are easily preventable:
- The pool (or other water feature) lacked safety features such as a fence
- Gates were left unlocked
- No lifeguard was on duty
- No one was attending the children
- Pool equipment entrapped the children
The USA Swimming Foundation reports that child swimming lessons decrease the risk of drowning by 88 percent. However, it notes swimming abilities do not completely eliminate the risk. Therefore, it is important to take other precautions, such as keeping an eye on children at all time with no distractions.
Still, accidents can happen, and they may be due to negligence on the part of the facility or owner responsible for the water area. In this case, you can take legal action against the responsible party or parties.