For Immediate Release: April 29, 2015
DCF Launches Water Safety for Kids Campaign
Campaign educates children on safe swimming practices
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), along with various community partners, today launched its Water Safety for Kids Campaign at the Children’s Safety Village in Orlando. The campaign will educate children, as well as parents and caregivers, on key water safety practices in preparation for the upcoming summer months, as drowning is a leading cause of child deaths in Florida.
“Every child in Florida needs to learn about water safety and safe swimming practices because we are surrounded by water and most summer activities in this state involve water,” Secretary Mike Carroll said. “Parents and caregivers have the ultimate responsible to protect their children, but by also educating children directly about basic water safety we hope to save more lives.”
The Water Safety Campaign continues an initiative launched last year to reduce child drownings. Since 2009, 488 Florida child drownings have been reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline – 14 so far this year. The majority of these deaths involve children under the age of 3, many slipping away undetected to a pool, pond or lake. Information and reports on these deaths can be found on the department’s Child Fatality Prevention website www.MyFLFamilies.com/childfatality.
Last year, the department’s campaign provided posters and PSA’s urging parents and caregivers to “Keep Eyes on the Kids.” This year’s campaign will provide free books, coloring sheets and informational videos to children, and events with puppet shows, guest speakers and readings of water safety books will be held in elementary schools, child care centers, libraries and book stores throughout Florida.
The campaign promotes four rules for children to follow around water:
- Never go near water without an adult.
- Wear a lifejacket.
- Learn how to swim.
- If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or find an adult.
“I’m very proud of the work our community partners are doing to promote water safety in our state,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “As we approach summer, keep in mind these steps that anyone can take to ensure water activities are safe activities: supervise consistently, learn emergency CPR and maintain fences and gates to prevent accidental access to pools.”
“Our state offers so many opportunities for children to spend their summer days exploring the world around them and learning beyond the walls of the classroom,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “We want all Floridians to be aware of water danger and teach our children how to enjoy safely one of Florida’s most precious natural resources.”
Other partners in DCF’s Water Safety for Kids Campaign include the Florida Department of State’s Division of Libraries, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safely Program, Barnes and Noble, the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities, the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation, Candlewick Publishing, Scholastic, the Florida Early Learning Coalition, YMCA, USA Swimming, the Florida Children’s Services Council and many local municipalities.
Follow the campaign on social media at #WaterSafety4Kids. The following images are also available for use:
- “Froggy Learns to Swim” colored by a Florida child
- “Josh the Otter” colored by a Florida child
- Heat map illustrating child drowning deaths in Florida
For more information and resources available on water safety for kids visit: www.myflfamilies.com/watersafetyforkids
Contact: Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, (850) 717-4450