Partners launch Water SMART Broward campaign to help prevent childhood drowning
Submitted by Katrina Louis
LAUDERHILL, FL — In Broward County, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death among children ages one to five. In 2013, the Florida Department of Health in Broward reported seven cases of drowning deaths in children. There have been just as many deaths since the beginning of this year. Tragically, in most cases, these deaths are preventable.
As a result, the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) and other community partners came together to launch Water SMART Broward, an awareness campaign to educate the public about the dangers of living in areas surrounded by water and provide resources to help prevent drowning incidents. Water SMART, or Water Safety Methods and Rescue Techniques, includes having layers of protection around access to water, ensuring active adult super-vision and enrolling young children in swimming lessons.
Swim Central, the coordinating agency for water safety instruction and awareness in Broward County, has served more than 400,000 elementary school-aged children since its inception in 1999. The agency provides 10 free water safety classes then refers families to pools in their neighborhoods to continue swim lessons.
“It’s imperative that parents understand the importance of comprehensive water safety education for their families,” said Jay Sanford, Manager of Swim Central. “Children’s lives are saved by teaching them basic skills that allow them to survive should they fall into the water.”
As the largest funder of Swim Central, the CSC recognized that the cost of swimming lessons may also play a role. “We want to engage all swim instructors in Broward to commit to a number of free or low-cost slots so that affordability is not a barrier for anyone who wants to take swimming les-
sons,” said Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, CSC President and CEO.
To learn more about Water SMART Broward, visit www.watersmartbroward.org.
The CSC an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on September 5, 2000, which, through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized the Council to levy up to 0.5 mills of property taxes. The role of the Council is to provide the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children’s lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care.
Follow us on Twitter at @CSCBroward and on Facebook. For more information about the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, please visit www.cscbroward.org.