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Florida has high drowning rates, do you know the signs?

It’s National Water Safety Month, but do you know the signs of drowning?

While it’s often depicted as a person flailing and screaming “HELP” — it’s actually quite the opposite.

The mouth is usually at water level with the head tilted back, usually facing toward the shore. The body is vertical with a climbing ladder motion, and eyes might be glassy. The person will be unable to call for “help” because they are struggling to get air.

Florida comes in second in drowning deaths of children between the ages of one and 14, according to Florida Health .

In 2013, Florida had the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation for children ages one to four years. A total of 7.54 drownings were reported for every 100,000 people in that population.

“In Southwest Florida, being out in the market we would say probably about 50 percent of people of all ages do not know how to swim,” Lindsay Pursglove with Swimtastic Swim School said.

She added a good tip for safety is to scan the bottom of the pool for someone who has dipped below the surface. She also advises to stay off the phone.

“Not turning the back, not taking a phone call,” she said. “You’d be amazed how many people are on their phones thinking they can see they’re kid and it can happen in a second.”

Simple tips on water safety:

  1. Staying close, being alert and watching children in and around the pool
  2. Learning and practicing water safety skills
  3. Having appropriate equipment for your pool or spa

National Water Safety Month is an annual awareness campaign coordinated by The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals with support from other organizations.

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