Summer is unofficially underway, and that means kids will be spending more time in the pool.
Broward County leads the country in drowning deaths in children under the age of four, so Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz teamed up with Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center in Plantation to remind parents that there simple ways to prevent such tragedies.
"I'm a mom of three kids, two of my kids are twins, I know even the most vigilant parent cannot end up watching their child 24-7," Wasserman-Schultz said Tuesday. "When supervision lapses, we have to make sure that there's an obstacle in the path of that child.”
That means either physical barriers such as fences or swim lessons, which are offered at the school.
"We have a pool and then our family members have pools so we're always around a pool, we're at the beach, so I just want to make sure he knows how to swim just in case he has an accident," parent Laura Souffrant said.
The school’s survival program teaches people of all ages, including children as young as nine months old and senior citizens, how to swim in five days.
"In Florida, it's so important, there's so many drownings, there's so much water around, whether it be a lake, a pool, canal, the ocean," aquatic center owner Marlene Bloom said. "I mean, there's just so much water around that we have to protect our children."
Ginelle Millan's son Jordan didn't know how to swim when he almost drowned at family party two years ago. She said she was distracted for a few seconds.
"Talking, what not, when I turned around the next thing I see is my son floating at the top of the pool and words can't express how that feels,” Millan said. "It can happen to anyone."
The Florida Department of Health said last year there were nine drowning deaths in children under the age of three in Broward County alone.
"Every drowning is preventable, every drowning," said the DOH's Kim Burgess. "You're the parent, you be responsible, you keep your child safe, put up as many barriers including swim lessons."
For more information on the survival program, click here
For info on free classes offered in Broward, click here
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