Drowning deaths target of Marco Island initiative


MARCO ISLAND, Fla. More children under the age of 5 drown in Florida than in any other state.

Firefighters on Marco Island are out to change that.

The Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department just launched a first-in-the-nation program designed to proactively educate homeowners with pools about ways they can make them as safe as possible for children.

Now, whenever crews are called to a home, they’ll offer tips.

“It’s not an inspection,” firefighter Chris Bowden said. “We’re giving advice to make a pool safer.”

Below are some of their tips:

  • Locks on doors should be high enough that children can’t get in from the outside.
  • Drains should be properly covered.
  • Any door or window that faces a pool should have an alarm on it.
  • Remove floats from the water after use — kids are attracted to them.
  • If your child is missing, always check the pool or any other body of water first.

Firefighters are also handing out battery-operated door alarms.

Drowning prevention measures are also critical for homes on lakes, canals, rivers and the gulf — any place where the water is within reach, NCH Healthcare System Safe and Healthy Kids Coalition Executive Director Paula DiGrigoli said.

“We cannot supervise our children 100 percent of the time,” DiGrigoli said.


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