New Law Could Be a Life-Saver

In mid-May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new study with a sobering statistic: Drowning deaths are on the rise in the United States. After decades of decline, the numbers have surged. Nearly 4,500 people across the country die in drownings each year. The most tragic part is that so many of these deaths could have been prevented had the victims known how to swim.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for children ages 1-4. The CDC study emphasized the importance of improved access to swim lessons and pools in order to combat the rising toll.

Fortunately, a new Florida law that goes into effect July 1 creates the state’s first Swimming Lesson Voucher Program for low-income families with kids 4 years old and younger. The families must have an income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level, which would be $62,400 for a family of four. 

The Florida Department of Health will be managing the program and creating a list of approved vendors in each county. On the opposite page, you’ll find a list of swim lesson opportunities throughout the county, though it’s important to note that these classes may not be eligible for the vouchers. Follow the Florida Department of Health-Polk County for a list of eligible vendors once it becomes available.

This is a prime opportunity to give children the survival skills they need to be confident and capable around water. For a state like ours where the weather makes water activities popular year-round, this is going to be a life-saver.

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