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A record number of kids drowned in Florida in 2021. Simple skills could save lives

Swimming Safari Swim School is teaching kids as young as 4 months old how to use techniques in the water.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — As the weather warms up, we head to the water. But there is a startling statistic out of Florida showing nearly 100 children drowned in 2021. 

Drowning happens quickly and silently. It takes 20 to 60 seconds. With water all around us, Florida has one of the highest rates of children drowning in the country.

“We live in Florida. We have a pool," said Gillian Chandler. “It’s just something they should know. His big brother can swim. Everybody should have that knowledge I feel."

Chandler and her 3-year-old are winding down after swim class. They’re here for safety. They stay for the fun.

“Water is fun but it is also dangerous," said Arin Williams with Swimming Safari Swim School.

"Asking permission before they get in the pool. Always swimming with an adult. We also work on skills in the water so we work on every class learning how to swim back to the wall when they fall in as well as floating on their back," she said those are the basics. 

Williams says skills like this are life saving. 

Florida Department of Children and Families reports a record number of children drowning in 2021. Their website shows 97. Other sources show 98. One is too many.

According to state data: in Duval, six children lost their life in the water. One died in Clay County.

Only three of the six drownings in Duval occurred in a pool. Williams says drownings can happen in as little water as a bucket. 

Swimming Safari Swim School starts working with kids as young as 4 months old.

“Even the littlest of babies, they’re really good at floating," Williams said. "They just came out of the womb so they’re actually in their natural habitat when they’re in the water like that. So floating is a huge thing. We also work on things like breath control so if the were to go under for a while they can hold their breath.”

At home, have your kid practice blowing bubbles and floating on your back in the bath tub. Williams says it is also important to talk to your kids about water danger so they understand. 

Can't afford swim lessons? Check out Hope Floats Foundation to apply for a scholarship to pay for lessons. 

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