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July 25 is World Drowning Prevention Day

Each year, nearly a quarter of a million people lose their lives to drowning, and almost 82,000 of them are children aged 1 - 14 years according to the World Health Organization. But with the right awareness and actions, drowning prevention is possible.

Safety Tips to prevent drowning:

  • Keeping watch over children while they are near water
  • Checking the weather forecast before boating
  • Choosing to not consume alochol or drugs before entering water
  • Putting on a lifejacket when fishing
  • Ensuring swimming pools are fences and access controlled

    For more information on drowing prevention, click here


Trauma and Injury Prevention

Traumatic injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, and they can affect anyone. However, many of these injuries can be prevented. SMH is not only committed to the care and treatment of nearly 4,000 trauma patients each year, but also to reducing preventable injuries by building awareness and increasing education through community outreach and injury prevention programs.

Our expert trauma team is always here for you when you need us, but by implementing some injury prevention measures, we hope you won’t.

Fall PreventionA hand gripping a rail to prevent a fall

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans and the most prevalent reason for traumatic injury in our area. Nationwide, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds and someone dies every 19 minutes from a fall. Many falls can be prevented by eliminating obstacles around the home and participating in balance restoring exercises.

SMH is committed to raising awareness about fall risks and improving fall prevention education in our community. See the links below for resources and more information on fall prevention and balance restoring exercises.

The CDC has numerous resources for implementing fall prevention measures, including their STEADI initiative, a program to help reduce fall risk among older adults.

Sarasota Memorial’s Health Fit provides fitness classes to help increase strength and restore balance. For a list of classes, click here. has created a Fall Risk Facts and Statistics article, you can view by clicking here

Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of major traumatic injuries in our area, and the leading cause of death of teens across the United States.

Help keep Sarasota’s streets safe by learning more about modifiable risk factors, distracted driving initiatives, and senior safe driving programs: The CDC and National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, both provide consumer information on transportation safety.

Specifically for teen drivers, the Sarasota Sheriff’s department participates in the Teen Driver Challenge program. For information and class registration, click here.

Check these resources for more information on Motorcycle Safety and Boating Safety.

A mother buckles her baby into its car seatChild Passenger safety

A recent major research study estimated that 59% of car seats are used incorrectly, reducing effectiveness. One way SMH helps to prevent crash injuries in our most vulnerable population, is by providing car seat check-ups in the community by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs). These car seat check-ups help ensure that little ones are as safe as possible while traveling in the car, and help educate caregivers about the next steps in protecting children as they grow.

Safe Kids Worldwide provides an Ultimate Car Seat Guide with information everyone needs to know about age appropriate car seats including purchasing and installation.

Sarasota County Fire Department offers monhtly child safety seat inspections, with a qualified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Inspections are free and by appointment only. To learn more about how to schedule a car seat safety inspection, dial 311.

For more information about child passenger safety, upcoming car seat check-ups, and additional local child passenger safety resources, click for CDC resources and a fact sheet.

To become a certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) and a community advocate for car seat safety, go to

As a CPS Technician, you will put your knowledge to work through community presentations and child safety seat checks to provide parents and caregivers hands-on assistance with the proper use of child restraint systems and seat belts.

Beware of Counterfeit Car Seats

Counterfeit car seats do not meet federal regulations and are often made of flimsy material. They are illegal to sell in the United States and are often purchased online.

Here is how to identify a counterfeit car seat:

  • There is no chest clip
  • It is not a five-point harness. Straps should go over the shoulders, the hips, and between the legs. 
  • Safety label: The safety label should state the car seat meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS213). It should also list the manufacturer, serial number and expiration date. Certified car seats often come with a registration card.

You can report counterfeit car seats at

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

Obeying traffic laws, increasing visibility and awareness, and wearing a properly fitted helmet when cycling, can help to prevent accidents and injuries for pedestrians and cyclists. While there are no concussion-proof helmets, a bike helmet can help protect against serious head and brain injuries. Trained by the FDOT and Florida’s Pedestrian & Bicycling Safety Resource Center, our injury prevention certified helmet fitters can help you get the proper fit with your helmet and get helmets to children in need at helmet safety events.

For more information, check these resources:

Stop the Bleed and Hands Only CPR Training

Uncontrolled bleeding is a leading cause of preventable death. With the STOP THE BLEED® course, you’ll gain the ability to recognize life-threatening bleeding and intervene effectively, empowering you to make a life or death difference when emergent bleeding occurs.

SMH hosts free Stop the Bleed courses combined with Hands Only CPR training and demonstrations for the community at both our Sarasota and Venice campuses. Please check our event calendar for the next available class or contact Injury Prevention directly via email at with questions or inquiries about setting up a class for your group, school, or business.

Drowning Prevention and Water SafetyA flotation device floats in a pool

Drowning is a major public health problem, especially in Florida. Drowning is also the leading cause of injury-related death of children between the ages of 1 and 4. We strive to educate the community about the importance of implementing effective prevention measures, learning basic swimming and water safety maneuvers, and life-saving skills to help prevent drownings and water related injuries.

Both the CDC and Safe Kids have excellent resources:

For additional information on Trauma and Injury Prevention, click here for the latest blogs by our expert Trauma Team members.

Contact Information: For questions about injury prevention and our programs, please email the Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator, or call (941) 917-1766.