lifesaver_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — Jumping into the pool or hanging out at the beach every day is a rite-of-passage for most kids when summer vacation finally comes around. But, inevitably, every summer there are also news reports of boys and girls who drowned because of negligence, lack of skills or inadequate protection.

In order to avoid another round of tragic stories this year, the YMCA of Broward County wants to educate and inform parents and caregivers on how they can best protect children who just want to have fun without realizing the dangers that may face them.

“We hope parents and caregivers will take heed of these very important tips and suggestions,” says Sheryl Woods, president/CEO of YMCA of Broward County. “The YMCA’s extensive swim and drowning prevention programs and classes prove how committed we are to making sure every child is safe and protected.”

Three layers of prevention must be in place to keep children safe because, in a split second, any one of the layers may fail and the other two must be in place to prevent a water tragedy.

Adult supervision: Never, even for a moment, leave small children alone or in the care of another young child while in bathtubs, pools, spas, wading pools, near irrigation ditches or in standing water.
Barriers and alarms: If you have a pool, install a four-sided fence around the pool that is at least four feet high. The fence should be hard to climb, not chain-link, and have a self-latching, self-closing gate. All gates and doors leading to the pool must be locked. Door alarms, pool alarms and rigid pool covers provide additional layers of protection but do not replace the need for a fence.

Water-safety instructions: Each year, enroll your child in YMCA Swim Lessons and provide water safety education. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should learn CPR.

For more information about the YMCA of Broward County, call 954-334-9622 or visit

This feature was provided by the YMCA of Broward County.

Drowning is the leading cause of death among children aged 1-4 in Florida.


Broward County leads the state in the number of deaths each year.


Enough children drown in Florida each year to fill about four classrooms.

Drowning is a silent death, with no yelling or splashing.

Of the children who drowned in Broward in the last three years, 83 percent were males, 58 percent were African American and many were from low-income households. Eighty-three percent of the children were very familiar with the pool and died in their own backyard or community. In 96 percent of the cases, an adult was present.