JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It is National Water Safety Awareness Month and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more children ages 1 to 4 die from drowning than any other cause of death, except birth defects.
Florida’s drowning rate is higher than any other state and in just the last week, two children drowned in our area.
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Saturday night a child drowned in an apartment complex pool. Days before, a 17-year-old drowned while swimming in the St. Marys River in Georgia.
As more families head to pools and beaches for the summer months, local groups say it is important to teach kids to swim as early as possible.
But before you can swim you have to survive.
“A swimmer or a student needs to be able to save themselves in order to be comfortable in the water before learning how to swim distances and those sorts of things,” said Andy Woods, the owner of British Swim School. “We are always going to be focused on survival first.”
The British Swim School teaches kids as young as three months old up to adults. Woods says parents with young children need to teach them to swim as early as possible so they have the tools they need to be safe before they get too curious and too mobile.
If there is an emergency, CPR is one of the first moves you should make.
Amanda Bullard is a paramedic and an instructor with the American Heart Association. She teaches life-saving skills like CPR to everyday people.
“I wish they would teach it before you left the hospital (with your baby),” Bullard said. “Or whenever you’re in care of a person. Knowing it is very very important. Just starting that CPR is imperative — seconds count.”
Bullard recommends if an emergency happens while swimming someone should call 911 immediately, check a pulse, and begin CPR until the person is conscious or until paramedics arrive.
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