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Orange County child nearly drowns hours after advocates raise swim safety awareness

Florida leads the nation in child drownings, experts say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A one-year-old Orange County girl is recovering in the hospital after fire officials said she nearly drowned in a family pool Wednesday afternoon.
 
Orange County Fire Rescue responded to the home on Herbinson Drive. Officials said they found the girl unconscious and unresponsive. She was revived and taken to a local hospital for treatment. 
 
This happened hours after first responders and child safety organizations held a news conference to raise swim safety awareness.
 
OCFR Division Chief David Rathbun said with summer around the corner, more families will spend time in the water and parents need to pay attention.
 
"That's just mind-boggling when you put that statistic out there that 1 to 4 years olds the leading cause of death is drowning and it is so preventable. It just is," Rathbun said. 
 
So far in 2019, the Florida Department of Children and Families said 10 children have died from drowning, including 2-year-old twins in Lake County last month.
 
According to DCF, the agency investigated almost 250 child drownings across the state over the past three years. 
 
Prashant Patel with the Children's Safety Village of Central Florida said child drownings are preventable.
 
"We take this time to come together to bring awareness to water safety and to stress the importance of water safety and the importance of safety and swimming lessons," Patel said. 
 
Child safety advocates are calling on parents to pay attention and keep children safe. They said drownings can happen anywhere at any time and in a second.
 
Safety experts are encouraging families to have a water watcher whose only job is to monitor the water. They add families should put up barriers around pools and know CPR in case of an emergency.

Sheriff John Mina weighed in on the importance of water safety.

"We hear these stories every single summer about children who may be left unattended and then find themselves near a body of water and then the unimaginable happens," Mina said. 

Ashley Kruse said she put her 2-year-old daughter Tallulah in swim lessons a year ago. She said she has peace of mind knowing her daughter can stay safe around water.

"I think it's a critical life skill down here. There are too many bodies of water to not have her be able to swim," Kruse said.
 
Earlier this year, the Orange County Sheriff's Office posted a video with five tips to prevent drownings, click here to view the video.

Families can find a licensed swimming instructor near them at infantswim.com.


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