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March 14, 2019
Recent data shows more children drowned in Hillsborough County last year than any other county in Florida. The number of drownings spiked to 11 in 2018. That’s the highest in the state and more than the previous two years combined. That same year, another six children drowned in Pasco County — two more than in 2017. Statewide, the number of child drowning deaths was 88, up 7 percent from the prior year, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The Y and the Florida Blue Foundation believe teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Thanks to a Florida Blue Foundation grant, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA will offer free Safety Around Water lessons to children March 18-21 to coincide with Hillsborough County’s and Pasco County’s Public Schools spring break.
The Safety Around Water program is free and open to the entire community, beginners and non-swimmers, ages 3-12 years. During the 4-day course, certified instructors teach kids a sequenced set of skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water.
Classes take place Monday, March 18 – Thursday, March 21. Participants must be present on the first day of class and bring their own swimsuit and towel. A YMCA membership is NOT required; however, due to limited space, pre-registration is required at these participating Tampa Ys:
Click here to register online. The Tampa Y will also offer the free Safety Around Water program in May and August of this year. The YMCA of the Suncoast, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, Manatee YMCA and Sarasota YMCA are also participating. Dates and times vary based on YMCA location.