Vacation rental management association offers safe swimming tips to prevent future drownings

ORLANDO, Florida. – The Florida Vacation Rental Management Association is partnering with Orlando Health to raise awareness after a recent increase in pediatric drownings.

The safety campaign comes weeks after a News 6 investigation showed child drownings had risen dramatically, mostly in vacation rentals.

A Brooklyn family renting a vacation home in Osceola County made a frantic call to 911 earlier this year after finding their 4-year-old unresponsive in the pool.

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Dr. Donald Plumley is a pediatric trauma physician at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital and says the calls are happening way too often.

“We’re at record numbers,” Plumley said. “We’ve seen a big increase in drownings and that worries us.”

Rafael Neves, co-chair of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, said the group is spreading the word to all of its property managers.

“We take care of these homes as if they were our homes,” Neves said. “It gets personal. You never want to see someone drown in your home, do you? »

Vacation rental managers have always taken precautions like double-locking doors and baby gates around pools, according to Neves.

Members’ vacation rentals will post flyers with information about safe swimming around the water, according to Neves.

“They’re going to be on the pool doors, the guest books inside the property,” Neves said. “They will also be emailed to customers as part of their booking.”

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Florida VRMA also partnered with Orlando Health and offered a pool and water safety webinar this week for all of its members.

Courtney Gleaton is Orlando Health’s Injury Prevention Coordinator.

“This video is the perfect example of why we’re having this conversation today,” Gleaton said.

News 6’s previous drowning report was shared as part of the training.

In March and April of this year, Orlando Health recorded a 266% increase in water immersion injuries compared to March and April 2020, according to Gleaton.

“We kept seeing patients coming in to drown and wondering what was going on?” Gleaton said, adding, “We found it best to educate everyone and see how we can prevent this from happening at all.”

Trauma doctors teach the ABCs of water safety.

A– represents adult supervision.

B — represents barriers having a fence around the pool and locks and alarms on the doors leading to the pool.

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C — represents lessons, swimming lessons for children and CPR lessons for adults.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children 4 and under, according to Orlando Health. Experts say it’s the third leading cause of accidental death for people aged 19 and under, and 88% of drownings occur under some supervision.

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