One Tragic Drowning at a Florida Timeshare, Another in a Florida Vacation Rental

On Christmas Day, 15-month-old Isaiah Whalen drowned in the pool at a private home during a family Christmas celebration in southern Orlando.

The following morning, three-year-old Emmanual Brown drowned at a vacation rental a few miles away in Osceola County, just south of Orlando.

Later that afternoon, at Parkway International resort timeshare, six miles away from where Emmanual Brown had just died, another 15-month old child, Octavius Johnson, drowned in the bathtub of the timeshare unit.

In the state of Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of four. And as the tragedies of this past week show, many of the children who drown in Florida are the children and grandchildren of tourists on vacation.

People go on vacation to relax; they let their guard down. They become preoccupied with socializing with one another, or just enjoying much needed down time. Children, exuberant with vacation excitement and sometimes unaccustomed to beaches and pools, make bad choices. They wind up getting in over their heads – literally.

When children fall into a pool, you would think adults would hear the splash; surprisingly, they rarely do. Children slip into a swimming pool and there is almost no sound in the water at all. Unlike adults, who realize they are drowning, children don’t know what is happening to them or how to react to save themselves. When a child begins to drown in a pool or lake, they usually struggle to reach an adult they know, even when doing so only takes them further away from the closest edge of the pool or beach and even if it takes them into deeper water.

Every child who is near a pool, lakeside, or beach needs constant adult supervision. The Mayo Clinic reminds us that a baby can drown in only an inch of water. A child can become submerged in ten seconds; unconscious after two minutes under the water; and permanently brain damaged within four to six minutes of going under. Everything from your mop bucket, to your toilet, your bathtub, your neighbor’s hot tub, or the swimming pool at your home, hotel, or timeshare resort is a potential death trap for a child.

Enjoy the beach. Take a timeshare vacation to some place warm and sunny this winter. But if you travel with children, remember that there is no such thing as being too cautious about water safety.

Three families ended 2007 with a heartbreaking loss last week in Orlando, Florida. Let’s all do everything we can to make 2008 a safe and happy year.