Local organizations working to reduce childhood drownings

Nearly 100 children drowned in Florida last year
Posted at 8:05 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-23 08:59:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Even though we're just getting into the swing of spring, now is the time to start preparing for summer.

The year 2021 was a record year for child drownings in Florida.

"Unfortunately Florida leads the nation almost every year. We're almost right up at the top," Chris Lolley, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida said.

According to the Department of Children and Families, 98 Florida children died from drowning last year, the majority of them between the ages of one and eight years old.

"We lose about enough children to fill four classrooms every year. This past year has been particularly bad," Lolley said.

Which means, swimming is more than just a recreational activity - it's a survival skill; one your children can learn at one of several pools around Tallahassee.

"We learn things about how to be safe around the water, how to tread water, how to right yourself into an upright position in the water. We also teach how to roll over and float. Obviously, if we're floating on our back, our face is out of the water, we can breathe, and we can actually call for help sometimes if we're in a bad situation," Leslie Adams, aquatics supervisor for the city of Tallahassee said.

And those lessons aren't just for children.

A Red Cross study from 2014 found that around 1-in-5 adults don't know how to swim.

"We teach a lot less adults than we do children, which is pretty normal. But we have seen an increase in our adult participants which is great. Some people are afraid and have never learned to swim at all, some people can get themselves across the pool but they want to learn to do it for more fitness or to be more comfortable," Adams said.

All the more reason why everyone should pitch in to keep themselves and others safe.

"Yes, it would be awesome if the entire family took advantage of learning how to swim. Maybe you wouldn't be able to go out into the gulf to rescue someone a hundred yards offshore, but you might be able to go into a swimming pool and help a young child get to the side of the pool," Lolley said.