BY ASHLEY THOMAS
The Daytona Beach Fire Department is encouraging the community to become more swim and CPR savvy following the drowning of a 2-year-old child on Monday.
According to a police report from the Daytona Beach Police Department, the male child identified as Clayton Bland was found in a pond at the rear of a house on Aleatha Drive just after 1 p.m. Talissa Brown, the toddler’s mother, was not aware that he and her other son, age, 4, had wandered outside of their Daytona Beach home.
Lillian Brown, Clayton’s grandmother who had custody of the two children, found the child in the water after returning home from running errands and asked Talissa of the 2-year-old’s whereabouts.
The pair rushed to a neighbor’s home, who reported screams coming from the rear.
The neighbor, later identified as Rhonda Moore, was asked if she could help as neither Brown could swim.
Moore immediately raced to the water and swam to the child, who was floating on top of the water, according to a police report. After returning with Clayton to land, she began CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
The report said that the child was transported to Halifax Hospital where he later died.
“It is vital that to ensure that any person living near waterways know or learn how to swim,” Daytona Beach Fire Department spokesman Officer Larry Stoney told the Daytona Times. “Not only the adults, but there are programs for children.”
In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old.
Water safety resources
“Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time,” said Stefany Strong, spokeswoman for the Volusia County Department of Health.
“The health department along with our community partners created a drowning prevention task force to raise awareness to ways to prevent toddler drownings in Volusia County.
“It is part of Safe Kids and meets on a regular basis. The team encourages parents to teach their toddlers how to swim, to keep their residential pools safe with barriers of protection and to always watch children in and around water,” Strong added.
Part of the educational resources Strong was referring to is an initiative by the Florida Health Department called WaterProof Florida.
Layers of prevention
Strong provided water and pool safety information literature to the Times that documented three key layers of drowning prevention: supervision, barriers and emergency preparedness to lower incidences of drowning in the Daytona Beach community.
“As parents are busy around the house, they may open a backyard door and forget to close it, leaving an opportunity for a small child to wander outdoors…,” the document explained.
“That is why barriers are so important. Incorporating childproof locks, door alarms and a pool gate sets obstacles between a child and a pool (or other water source) making it more difficult to gain access and alerting parents when a child opens a door and is outside.”
Free swim classes
Stoney added that throughout the year, Daytona Beach residents can learn CPR, water safety and swimming lessons.
“There are several programs that teach infants how to swim, some as early as 12 months,” Stoney explained. One such program held in 2013 in partnership with the fire department, the Volusia County Health Department, the City of Daytona Beach and the YMCA allowed one child to learn to swim for free for each paying adult that learned to swim.
Referring to Tuesday’s drowning, Stone added that participation in the programs “would be beneficial to our community to limit incidents and prevent horrific accidents as the one we had yesterday.”
Dates and times have not been released for 2014 but interested parties can connect with the health department or fire departments at Waterprooffl.com, VolusiaHealth.com or Codb.us.