Non-fatal drowning can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities, including memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning.
“We emphasize the importance of vigilant and uninterrupted adult supervision as the most effective drowning prevention strategy,” said Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Miami-Dade County Health Department. “One drowning is one too many.”
Also, records indicate that in many drownings, there was either no barrier present or one that was not working properly.
The department recommends the following to help prevent childhood drowning:
■ Install four-sided isolation fencing with a self-closing and self-latching gate around pools and spas. The fence should be at least four feet high to prevent children from climbing over.
■ Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use. The presence of these toys may encourage children to enter the pool area and possibly fall in.
■ Install alarms on all doors and windows leading to the pool.
■ Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
■ Use life jackets on children when in or around a body of water. Air- filled flotation devices should not be used in place of life jackets. They are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
■ Keep a phone at poolside so that you never have to leave the pool to answer he phone — and can call for help if needed.
For more information on drowning visit www.dadehealth.org/injury/INJURYdrowning.asp