Drowning has been the leading cause of death for children between the ages 1 – 4 years in Collier County. There have also been a significant number of non fatal drowning in Collier County which can lead to mechanical breathing support and permanent neurologic damage. This campaign is designed to alert parents to the layers of protection needed to prevent these avoidable tragedies – dedicated adult supervision, teaching water safety to children at a young age, and access barriers such as gates, locks and alarms. The Florida Pediatric Society has endorsed the Water Smart Babies booklets and, on April 5, 2011, Collier County became the second county in the state to launch the program.
For Pediatricians: Give out the Water Safety Booklets routinely at the 9 month visits and at any other subsequent well visit whereyou feel the parent could benefit from having the information. Let the parents know that the booklet contains the local numbers for certified aquatic facilities that teach water safety lessons as well as organizations that teach CPR. Remind parents that Water Safety lessons do not drown proof a child. The other layers of protection such as dedicated adult supervision and barriers need to be equally emphasized. Thisis especially true in special venues such as bathtubs, hot tubs, lakes, ponds, inflatable kiddie pools, multigallon buckets or aquariums. Sign and date the Water Safety Prescription. This places added emphasis on the importance of the family pursuing water safety or CPR lessons. This also acts as a tracking mechanism for the program If you have additional phone numbers (dentists, specialists) or information you wish to write down for the parent, consider using the back of the booklet to place these numbers. These adds “value” to the booklet and might encourage the parent to utilize it for a longer period. If you need additional booklets, please contact Dr. Vedder at 239-262-8226 and we will arrange for delivery directly to your office. Booklets will also be available at NCH Department of Pediatrics meetings. Notify Dr. Vedder if you have ideas on how to make the booklets even more effective for your patients.
For Parents: Ask your pediatrician for a Water Safety Booklet when your child is starting to get highly active and mobile (usually around 9 months) Take action before tragedy strikes. Empty, lock or seal any indoor/outdoor containers that can hold large amounts of liquid. Install alarms on doors and windows that lead out to a pool, lake or ditch. Install baby barrier gates that prevent access to the pool from the house. Install proper fencing to prevent neighbor children from accessing the pool outdoors. Inspect to make sure all gates or screen doors leading to the pool close and latch properly. Do not prop open! Make sure proper drain covers are installed on your pool or grandparent’s pool to avoid entanglement or entrapment. Locate the rescue equipment (just like you look for the exits on an airplane before take off) before your child swims. Call a certified aquatic facility or instructor that teaches water safety lessons. These numbers are in the booklet and also can be found on this website. These lessons are not free, but most programs have financial assistance/ scholarship programs if you present the necessary information. Take the prescription booklet with you to the aquatic center to help us track the success of the program Also call to get trained on how to perform proper CPR. Basic CPR information is also included in the booklet. Just because a child has had water safety lessons, does not make them drownproof. There should always be a dedicated adult water watcher whenever children are in the pool. No texting, no phone calls, no distractions. Notify your pediatrician if you have ideas on how to make the booklets even more effective for parents such as yourself.
For Pool Operators/ CPR trainers: Fax prescriptions brought to your facility to the Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition at 239-552-7779 If the parents did not bring a prescription, ask parents how they heard about the water safety/CPR lessons. Keep a log of this since the Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition wants to track the effectiveness of the program. Also keep a log whether your facility has needed to expand the number of lessons or train additional instructors. Notify the Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition by calling 239- 552-7788 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org on ways to improve the water safety booklets to make them more effective for parents and for your facility. Please notify us right away if you have changed your facilities contact info, start offering water safety lessons at a younger age; etc. We want to keep the booklets as relevant as possible for as long as possible.
Click here to download a copy of the Water Safety Guide Collier