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Drowning prevention 101

By Staff | Jul 12, 2017

Brooke Bothun, a water safety instructor at the Sanibel Recreation Center, teaches a child how to swim during their American Red Cross swim lessons. ASHLEY GOODMAN

According to the Florida Depart-ment of Health, in 2013 Florida had the highest drowning rate in the nation for children 1-4 years old. Sanibel Recreation Center’s Aquatics Manager Tasha Maddix said proper supervision is her No. 1 tip for keeping kids safe at the pool.

“Parents and guardians should be around at all times,” Maddix said.

Her second tip is to make sure there is a barrier between the child and the pool.

“Sliding glass doors need to be locked or have an alarm,” she said. “Putting fencing around pools is really important, too.”

Pool covers and doors with self-closing and self-latching devices are beneficial as well. The Florida Department of Health recommends multiple barriers.

Lastly, Maddix said emergency preparedness is key.

“The Red Cross recommends that at least one person in the household is certified in CPR. A lot can be done to sustain life before EMS arrives,” Maddix said.

During the spring, the Sanibel Recreation Center offers American Red Cross swim lessons for children. The next set of swim lessons will be offered in the fall.

In the meantime, the recreation center offers private one-on-one lessons.

Maddix recommends swim lessons for children as young as six months.

“Six months is the youngest that we’ll take into the program,” she said.

For more information on the Sanibel Recreation Center’s swim lessons, call (239) 472-0345.