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Fatal child drownings are on rise, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports

WPBF West Palm Beach logo WPBF West Palm Beach 7/1/2019
a sign on the side of a tree: Fatal child drownings are on the rise, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports © Provided by Hearst Television, Inc. Fatal child drownings are on the rise, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports

Drownings are the leading cause of death among children under the age of 4, according to a report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

But in an effort to combat drownings across the Sunshine State, members of a coalition in Palm Beach County are warning adults and children to be aware of the dangers of all forms of water inside and outside the home.

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“We live in South Florida and, therefore, we are surrounded by water. We can’t get away from water,” Anna Stewart, a spokesman for the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County, said.

It only takes 2 inches of water for a person to drown, Stewart said.

In 2017, 64% of accidental drownings within Palm Beach County occurred in pools, canals and the ocean, according to the coalition’s website.

Over the years, Stewart has heard many stories of parents “teaching” their children how to swim, but she believes children and adults should learn from a certified water safety instructor.

“We do not recommend parents throwing their children into the water because, oftentimes that instills fear of the water later in life for children, as well as teenagers and adults and seniors,” Stewart said.

But she does recommend using the ABCD’s of water safety, which includes vigilant adult supervision, putting up safety barriers and taking classes for water and diving safety.

“A lot of cars go into canals nowadays and people end up drowning because they don’t know what to do and, if they can’t swim it, makes that situation a lot more difficult,” Stewart said. “So, make sure you know how to escape a sinking vehicle that goes into a body of water.”

The Drowning Prevention Coalition also offers free land-based water presentations for all ages.

READ MORE:Fatal child drownings are on rise, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports

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