Besides traffic, the most plentiful thing across South Florida is plenty of water. It’s everywhere from streams to canals and pools. But safety is not always at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to the water.
This year, 4 kids ages 5 and youngser in Broward County and 2 in Miami-Dade County have died from drowning. Just in the past two months, six children have drowned and there have been several close calls.
On March 1, a toddler in Lauderhill was taken to the hospital after being found in a pool. March 7th saw another toddler drown and another critically injured. Twin toddlers downed in Deerfield Beach on April 9th. Another two kids drowned in Delray Beach on April 25 and on Wednesday a three-year-old in Coral Springs drowned in the backyard pool. All of the children had wandered off from their parents.
Last year, 64 people, including adults drowned in Broward County and another 45 drowned in Miami-Dade. But the owner of Swim with Mr. Blue says the deaths can be prevented.
“A child is going to see things from a different perspective,” said Miss Julie of Swim with Mr. Blue. “They’re going to see things from a smaller perspective. We see the big picture. A child sees a toy. They want to reach for a ball in the water. They don’t understand the dangers.”
Five-year-old Noah is one of the students of Swim with Mr. Blue. He just started swimming on Monday. Before, he was terrified of the water, but in just four days he can swim across the pool by himself. Miss Julie said swimming lessons are an absolute must if you live in Florida.
“We have to take baby steps,” Julie said. “For a child to fall in the water and be able to go right back to the wall, that’s very, very important in the beginning.”
In addition, safety measures like a pool fence or alarm can help as well. Still, knowing how to swim, how to react quickly, and safely at a young age could mean the difference between life and death.
“The number one cause of death of children in Florida was drowning and I realized it was more than just…that was really essential we do it,” said Cristina Coy. “I know she’s so confident that if she falls in the pool, the first thing she does is swim to the wall.”
Florida offers VPK students two weeks of free swimming lessons.
For more on pool safety, click here.