NORTH PORT, Fla. (FOX 13) - Two toddlers have drowned in their backyard pools Monday, and the tragic drownings are bringing swim safety to the forefront.
In Pasco County, a two-year-old boy got out of the house and into the pool Monday evening, and in North Port Monday morning a toddler was found floating in his backyard pool.
Swim instructors say drowning doesn’t happen the way most people think. When children go to the pool or swim in the ocean, there’s a lot of noise. So if it gets quiet, that’s a sign.
“Drowning is a silent killer. It can happen in 20 to 60 seconds. It can happen 10 feet away from a parent,” said Rich Rogers, the director of competitive aquatics at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center. “In the movies, we see people going ‘Help! Help! Help! But that's not really drowning. That's aquatic distress and there's a big difference between distress and drowning.”
When someone is drowning, there’s no chance to call for help.
“When I was life guarding when I was 16, we had a kid who was drowning, and he was right in front of me. His eyes got really glassy. He had stepped a little too far, and he couldn't touch anymore,” said aquatics director Lauren Brun of Campo YMCA in Valrico.
Brun explained the signs to look out for when it comes to drowning.
“Their hands are going to be down. It almost looks like they're climbing a ladder, and they're silent,” said Brun. “ They have glossy eyes. They have their hair in their face. They're kind of looking to someone for help, but they're not actually asking for help.”
Florida leads the country in drowning deaths for children 4 years old and younger, and swim experts said most drownings when adults are supposed to be watching them.
Swim instructors said the best way to prevent a tragedy is constant supervision.
“It just comes down to watching their kid. No phone call, no text message, no book is really worth their child's life,” said Brun.
Another way to protect your children is using barriers around pools, but instructors really stress supervision so you can know when your child is in need of help.