Florida hopes to lower drowning rate by encouraging swim lessons and water safety

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VENICE, FLA. - It only takes a few seconds for a child to fall into a pool and drowned. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, 28 kids have drowned already this year.

“For children under five it is the number one reason for unintentional death here in Florida,” said Alena Spencer, President of SwimKids USA in Sarasota County.

Florida overwhelmingly has the highest drowning rate in the nation. Unlike the movies it usually happens quickly and quietly.

“There is absolutely not that flailing around, screaming, yelling for help. Typically it is silent, they are under the water.”

To help lower the number of drowning deaths in the Florida, state officials recently kicked off a statewide campaign called “Eyes on the kids” to highlight the importance of swim lessons and water safety.

“You have always got to have an eye out. You should never take your eyes off your children no matter how great of swimmers they are because something can happen but we also need to teach them how to save themselves,” said Spencer who has been teaching swim lessons and water survival skills to children for ten years. She says over the years, she has heard from plenty of thankful parents who said their kids survived accidental falls into pools because of her lessons.

“They do exactly what we taught them to do, turn around and get themselves back to the wall and they are just so amazed because they didn’t think that they were really retaining anything,” said Spencer.

“We all love our kids so much that we want the best for them,” said Mark Leduc. He has both of his young sons taking swim lessons.

“We have a pool and even though we have a child fence we still felt it would be very important to learn how to swim especially as a young child.”

Diana Treiber always keeps a close eye on her grandson but she still wanted him to know how to swim.

“It is a split second that they fall in and to get your brain to register and you could be talking and you know hear the splash and I think it is a good thing,” said Treiber.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research shows that when children between the ages of one and four receive formal swim lessons it dramatically reduces the chance of drowning. Research also shows that seconds count and when CPR is preformed on near drowning victims they have a better chance of improved outcomes.