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Expert advice on how to keep children safe in and around water this summer

Posted at 6:28 AM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 06:28:41-04

All year-round, pools, canals, lakes and oceans surround children in Florida. Experts suggest helpful advice for parents and caregivers to keep kids safe.

Florida leads the nation for child drownings. In the summer of 2017, 25 children drowned across the state. They were all younger than 15-years-old, according to the USA Swimming Foundation.

The foundation says drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children.

On Tuesday, a 20-month-old girl was reported missing and later died in the hospital after being found in a canal a half-mile from her home in North Port.

Earlier this year, A baby drowned in a pool in North Port in February. In 2017, a 3-year-old boy and one-year-old girl drowned in a Cape Coral pool. Back in 2016, a toddler drowned in a pool in Golden Gate Estates.

In a few of those cases, a parent was reportedly not supervising the child when the drowning occurred. 

Experts say toddlers younger than 4-years-old most commonly drown in a swimming pool. Children older than 5 are more likely to drown in ponds, rivers, canals or oceans.

The foundation says parents and caregivers can never leave a child alone for a second when around water.

Here is a list of steps from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that can help keep kids safe in and around water.

  • An adult should always be designated to supervise children while they play in the water.
  • Installing a fence with a self-latching gate around all pools and spas.
  • Teach your child how to swim by taking them to lessons.
  •  Learn how to perform CPR on children

Also, have kids wear a life vest in bodies of water, even if they know how to swim.

Experts at the Golisano Children's Hospital say when a child begins to struggle in the water, something called the “instinctive drowning response” kicks in.

Younger children remain under water with little to no movement from their lefts and arms.

They can’t yell and struggle to keep their mouths above water to grab a quick breath until they tire out and drown.

Experts say drowning is preventable if kids are always supervised by an adult.