Published On: Tue, Jun 17th, 2014

Free door alarms available for families with pools

What If- Keeping our kids safeEvery year more than 60 children under the age of 5 drown in Florida — enough kids to fill an entire school bus. This year there already have been 28 reported cases of children drowning in the state and we haven’t even reached summer. Within just the last 20 days, there have been five reported near-drownings in Palm Beach County alone.

As part of the ongoing “What If?” child safety campaign, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and Safe Kids Palm Beach County will be distributing about 500 free door alarms to Palm Beach County families with pools. An alarm easily can be attached to a sliding glass door and will buzz any time the door is opened.

A Florida Department of Health grant funded the door alarms.

While there is no substitute to supervising your children around water, the door alarms act as a barrier to keep children safe, said Kelly Powell, program director of Safe Kids Palm Beach County.

“Even a near-drowning incident can have lifelong consequences,” Powell said. “Kids who survive a near-drowning may have brain damage, and after four to six minutes under water the damage is usually irreversible.”

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County, a “What If?” campaign partner, urges caregivers to always remember the ABCDs of water safety: A- adult supervision, B- barriers, beach safety and boating safety, C- classes to teach children how to swim and adults CPR, and D- drain safety.

“We strongly recommend that everyone utilize layers of protections (barriers) such as door/window/gate alarms and locked, properly working isolation pool fencing and pool alarms,” said Anna Stewart, manager of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County. “If one mechanism fails there is another to hopefully prevent a tragedy from occurring.”

To qualify for a free door alarm, a family must fill out a six-question survey by going to www.whatifpbc.org, scrolling down and clicking on the water icon. Families then will be contacted about where they can pick up their free door alarms.

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