A toddler died in the water behind my apartment. I didn’t know him and yet I can’t stop grieving. This holiday weekend a family is torn apart. My heart breaks for them. Keeping your child safe is why it’s important to practice water safety.

My view while working put the entire scene in front of me. Less than 15 feet from my window, I watched as EMS ran onto a dock. I thought maybe a boater had a heart attack. Instead, they came back with a limp child. At first, they placed him on a gurney but within seconds, he was placed on the ground and covered with a sheet.

Two teenagers found him in the water. Two teenagers just enjoying summer. Going down to fish off the dock. It will be a long time before they’ll be able to move past this.

In Florida, in 2021 there were 98 child drownings in this state up from 69 the previous year. 24 of those deaths were in the greater Tampa Bay area which is the area I live. According to the Florida Dept. of Children and Families, Florida has the dubious distinction of losing more children under 5 to drowning than any other state.

Usually this weekend, we’re reminding everyone about fireworks safety. But as you enjoy this holiday weekend and all of summer, please remember the water danger. Important whether you have a pool or if you live near or are vacationing near open water such as lakes, oceans, canals, and rivers.

Water Safety for Children is an excellent reminder of what you should do when children are near water. I cannot emphasize enough two tips in particular for anyone who is living near or vacationing near water.

  1. Get swimming lessons for your child as soon as possible.
  2. Put your toddler in a life jacket whenever they’re outside. Mandatory, even if they’re just going to be playing with toys in the yard. Water is too fascinating, who knows when your child might want to see if something floats and that may happen the one moment your back is turned.

I cannot emphasize both enough, but item 2 should be done even if your toddler has had swim lessons. If they fall in the water and can’t get out they may get tired before someone sees them. Do not think life jackets are just for boats.

And another important tip: If you live near water and your child is missing, check the water first. Remember, drowning is a silent thing. You will not hear your child splashing in the water or yelling for help. That’s why it’s so important to check the water first.

I hope this post helps you plan for a safe summer near the water.

Please check out all of the links that I’ve provided. They lead to important safety instructions, which include things you might not always think of. It’s better to have more information than not enough.