Drowning Doubles in Hillsborough County
More children drowned in Hillsborough County last year than any other county in Florida. The number of drownings spiked to 11 in 2018. 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.
These eye-opening statistics are heartbreaking. It’s not a title to be proud of and the Tampa Y is working with several community partners and generous donors to ensure we never rank #1 again.
This year, we’re significantly expanding Safety Around Water (SAW), thanks to the Florida Blue Foundation and four other local Y associations. Starting next month, the drowning prevention program will expand to more than 30 Y locations in Tampa Bay, impacting 5,500 kids.
SAW is a community outreach program that teaches children how to be safe in and around the water, with the goal of reaching underserved families who might not otherwise have access to swim lessons. The Tampa Y will offer SAW three times in 2019, starting with Hillsborough County’s and Pasco County’s Spring Break March 18 – 21. To register your preschooler, (3-5 years) click here. To register your school age child (6-12 years), click here.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, the Y is proud to expand “Be Water Smart from the Start” to be a year-round program. This is a mobile program where certified instructors leave the Y to teach kids formal swim lessons and water safety education in their own apartment complex and neighborhood pools.
The Tampa Y is also looking forward to strengthening its partnership with Hillsborough County’s Head Start, a federal program that provides education, health and family support services to pre-school children. Underserved youth receive free swim lessons at the Y throughout the spring and summer. The partnership also includes classroom-based water safety education.
These community programs are some of the ways the Y tackles drowning prevention head-on. A pioneer in swimming for 130 years, the Tampa Y also offers swim lessons for all ages, family swim, competitive swimming, adaptive swim programs, water aerobics and synchronized swimming to meet the community’s diverse and unique needs. Let’s work together to ensure not one more child drowns!
Spring Break SAW Program (March 18th-21st):
Register your Preschooler (3-5 years) click here.
Register your School Age child (6-12 years) click here.
Pictured above: The Tampa Y is working with several agencies to teach more kids life-saving swim lessons.