Evidence-Based Injury Prevention
Best Practices: Drowning Prevention
Note: As of July 1, 2012, the Office of Injury Prevention became the Injury Prevention Program. Documents and activities finalized prior to this date will retain "Office of Injury Prevention".
Scope of the Problem
Florida loses more children ages 1–4 to drowning than any other state. Annually in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday.
Florida overwhelmingly has the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation for the 1–4 year old age group with a rate of 6.98 per 100,000 population (Oklahoma was second for this age group with a rate of 5.04) for 2007–2009.
Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida have the highest overall unintentional drowning rates in the nation between 2007–2009, with rates of 3.53, 2.90, and 2.09 per 100,000 population, respectively. The soaring rate for the 1–4 year old age group drives up Florida’s overall rate, so if we can impact the 1–4 year old rate, we can also make an impact on Florida’s overall rate.
Chart Text Equivalent
For additional drowning data, please see the Data page.
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The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
(Source: US Consumer Product Safety Commission)
On December 17, 2007, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) was signed into law. This important child safety law became effective in December 2008 and strives to:
- Enhance the safety of public and private pools and spas,
- Encourage the use of layers of protection,
- Reduce child drownings in pools and spas (nearly 300 each year involving children younger than five),
- Reduce the number of suction entrapment incidents, injuries and deaths, and
- Educate the public on the importance of constant supervision of children in and around water.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the lead agency in implementing and enforcing the P&SS Act. CPSC is working with other safety groups in the pool and spa safety community to encourage the use of layers of protection — such as fencing around pools, constant supervision, and requiring anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices.
For more information please visit the CPSC website.
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Effective October 1, 2000 — Law requires that new residential swimming pools have at least one of the following: an enclosure, pool safety cover, exit alarms on doors, or self-closing, self-latching devices on entries to the pool. The enclosure must be a barrier at least four feet high on the outside and surround the perimeter of the pool. Gates to the swimming pool must also be equipped with self-closing and self-latching locking devices. The residence may be used as one side of the barrier if it does not contain doors or windows that provide access to the swimming pool.
Gaps in Coverage:
- Pools built prior to 2000 are not subject to this regulation.
- There are no public funds for a public education initiative.
- The legislation does not require four sided fencing around the pool.
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