Black Children More Likely to Drown: Less Likely to Know How to Swim. Drowning rates among African Americans increase through childhood and peak at 15 to 19 years of age, according to the CDC.
By Andrew Leone
LAUDERHILL, FL – At its October meeting, the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) approved increasing funding for Swim Central by $50,000 for a total of $625,500 to provide parent/child lessons for children ages 6 months to four-years-old. Approximately 1,250 children will be able to participate in a series of 10 drowning prevention lessons thanks to vouchers that will be distributed through a number of agencies to families in need.
Swim Central is the coordinating agency for water-safety instruction and awareness in Broward County. It maintains the most comprehensive data-base in Florida for swimming pools and water-safety programs in the county.
“By providing free or low cost vouchers, Swim Central and other community partners are beefing up efforts to keep children from drowning in our community,” said Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, President/CEO of the CSC. “The goal is to ensure that all families can have access to affordable lessons that will keep these preventable tragedies from taking place”.
Over the last few years, the CSC has partnered with Broward County, the Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force, the Department of Health, the School Board of Broward County and the SWIMS Foundation among others to ensure that all pre-k, kindergartner and first grade students in public schools have access to free swim lessons. This past year, approximately 25,000 children participated through Swim Central from their school to community pools. According to County data, no child that has participated in the Swim Central program since its inception has suffered a drowning.
For more information on how the community can become “Water Smart”, visit www.watersmartbroward.org, a one stop on-line resource center on drowning prevention and water safety.
The Children’s Services Council of Broward County is an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on Sept. 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.