MIAMI (CBSMiami) – School is nearly out for the summer in South Florida and that means more time at the beach and in the pool. But all that time in and around water leads to a higher risk of drowning for everyone, especially children. That’s why officials are encouraging all residents, especially parents and caregivers, to take precautions to prevent drowning for young children.

The YMCA of Broward County kicked off its Water Safety Awareness Days on Tuesday at the John Mullin Aquatic Center in Lauderhill with free swim lessons.

Parents and children showed up to the Lauderhill pool to learn some basic swimming skills and practice safety when in the water.

In 2013, seven children under the age of five died as a result of drowning. So far in 2014, six children under that the age of five drowned.

Parents believe it’s never too young to teach your kid.

“The moment they could crawl and they’re mobile, that’s when you need to be vigilant about this because if they can crawl, they can fall into a pool,” said parent Lindsay Duggar.

“Most drowning’s of children under the age of five occur in unguarded pools, backyards and apartment complexes. The reality is accidental drowning is preventable. Parents can help make their kids safer by knowing and using three layers of drowning prevention – active adult supervision at all times; locks and alarms on all gates and doors leading to the pool; and water safety and swim lessons,” said Sheryl A. Woods, CEO & President of the YMCA of Broward County.

The YMCA of Broward County’s annual SPLASH drown prevention program teaches participants basic swimming skills and water safety habits.

Drowning is the leading cause of death among infants and small children in Florida and the second leading cause of death among children 14 and under in the United States. Broward and Miami-Dade Counties also top of the list for kids younger than four-years-old.

The YMCA also wants everyone to remember these safety tips:

  • Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
  • Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.



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