Emergency Physicians Talk About Swim Safety in Health First’s Latest Podcast

By  //  June 21, 2022

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: Dr. Brittany Warren, left, is a Trauma Surgeon at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center where Dr. Danielle Devereaux, right, directs the Pediatric Emergency Department. The two physicians are warning parents and others this summer of the prevalence of swimming-related accidents in Florida. (Health First image)

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The drowning statistics in Florida will make you gasp.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Sunshine State has one treasure that’s the envy of every other state – water. From roaring ocean waves to in-ground pools we can step into at any time (literally), water recreation isn’t just for Floridians – it’s for tourists, too.

That’s why the Florida Department of Health recently paid for a large ad at Orlando International Airport warning arriving families to keep an eye on kids around pools – “Drownings are preventable.”

Dr. Danielle Devereaux, who directs the Pediatric Emergency Department at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center, has a few bits of advice around the issue she shares with every parent – and recently, with listeners of Health First’s new podcast, Putting Your Health First.

■ The Water Watcher – Whether you’re at the beach or poolside (or pond-side), playing children should be supervised by an adult who is not on their phone or sitting with others socializing, but primarily serving in the capacity of a lifeguard.

■ Fences, Door Alerts – In-ground pools are a major contributor to early childhood drownings. “A fence that’s at least 4 feet tall that has a self-locking or latching mechanism is super important,” Devereaux said, and to that, consider adding door alerts that signal when a child has accessed the patio area.

■ Swim Lessons – Children should learn to swim starting at 1, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians. Early lessons may emphasize simple floating techniques. For adults who never learned – it’s never too late, Dr. Devereaux said.

The Water Watcher – Whether you’re at the beach or poolside (or pond-side), playing children should be supervised by an adult who is not on their phone or sitting with others socializing, but primarily serving in the capacity of a lifeguard.

Dr. Devereaux was joined on the podcast by Holmes Regional Trauma Surgeon Dr. Brittany Warren. She pointed out that, drowning leads all other causes of injury death for children ages 1 to 9, according to the Florida Department of Health, and is a leading cause for older kids behind motor vehicle collisions.

“Those who don’t die, unfortunately, 10% of them will suffer from permanent brain damage if they [drown but] happen to make it out of the water and are resuscitated,” Dr. Warren said.

In the ocean, Dr. Warren said, children and adults alike should know what to do when they’re sucked into a rip current that pulls them away from the shore – don’t swim directly against the current but at a right or left angle instead, parallel to the shoreline.

Finally, both physicians agreed that CPR and basic life support training is wise for any person at any age planning a trip to the beach or even the pool.

To find online instruction or in-person classes locally, visit RedCross.org/take-a-class. Parents may dial 2-1-1 to be connected to local resources including swimming lessons in their area.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Swim Lessons – Children should learn to swim starting at 1, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians. Early lessons may emphasize simple floating techniques. For adults who never learned – it’s never too late, Dr. Devereaux said.
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