New Law Grants Free Swimming Lessons to Florida Children | St. Petersburg Swimming Pool Injury Lawyers Whittel & Melton


Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 544, a bill that allows children in Florida to obtain free swimming lessons.
As per the law, the state Department of Health must create a network of providers of swimming lessons to take part in the swimming lesson voucher program.

Families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level—that is, $60,000 for a family of four—will have their lesson fees paid for by the program.

Families must have one or more children who are four years of age or younger to qualify.

The law includes $500,000 to fund the voucher program.

The law, which was introduced on November 20, 2023, aims to improve water safety in Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that two children under the age of 14 drown every day in the United States, accounting for an average of 4,000 annual deaths. Drowning ranks as the primary cause of death for kids between the ages of 1 and 4 and the second most common cause of mortality linked to unintentional injuries for kids between the ages of 1 and 14.

In 2023, 97 children in Florida drowned, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families. Children three years of age and under accounted for 74% of the fatalities.

Republican Sen. Travis Hutson of District 7 proposed the Swimming Lesson Voucher Program, which will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

Aquatic fun is a summer rite of passenger for children. While swimming is a fun sport for children, it is critical to prioritize safety to avoid accidents and provide a worry-free experience for everyone.

Supervision is a Must:
Never undervalue the need of an adult watching over a child while they swim. Assign the kids to a designated watcher whose only duty it is to supervise them, particularly in busy places or in naturally occurring bodies of water where currents might be erratic. Steer clear of distractions that could draw attention away from the beach or pool, such as being on your phone, engaging in conversation with others, or even having a drink with friends.

Take Swimming Lessons:
Think about signing up for swim lessons for your child based on their age. Swimming gives students the necessary water safety abilities in addition to boosting their confidence. With this new law in place providing free swim lessons, you can find trustworthy swim programs or instructors who have received child swim instructor certification. In an emergency, simple abilities like treading water or floating can make a big difference.

Secure Pool Areas:
If you have a pool at home, use proper barriers such fences with self-latching gates to prevent unauthorized entry. Consider attaching alarms to pool gates or surface motion sensors to notify you if someone enters the pool area without your knowledge. Maintain and examine pool equipment on a regular basis to make sure it is operating properly.

First Aid and CPR Training:
Arm yourself with these life-saving skills. Being able to perform CPR or provide basic first aid in an emergency can save lives. First aid and CPR courses are provided by numerous community organizations; some are designed especially for parents and other caregivers of small children.

Establish Pool Rules:
If you have a pool at home, set explicit and non-negotiable safety guidelines. Stress how dangerous it is to dive into shallow water, run around the pool, or swim unsupervised. Educate your child about pool risks such as drains and filters, and make sure they understand the importance of always following your pool rules.

Wear the Appropriate Safety Gear:
Purchase the proper safety equipment, such as floaties or life jackets, especially for younger kids or inexperienced swimmers. Make sure life jackets are approved by the US Coast Guard and fit correctly. Remember that these devices are not a substitute for supervision, and children should still be constantly observed while wearing them.

Swimming is a great way for kids to burn off some of their never-ending energy, but their safety should always come first. Implementing these suggestions and establishing a culture of water safety awareness will allow you to enjoy a stress-free and happy swimming experience with your child, knowing that you have taken the essential precautions to keep them safe.

If your child or family member has suffered harm in a swimming pool accident in Florida, our St. Petersburg Swimming Pool Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can provide you with the compassionate and competent legal representation you need. You can call us at 727-823-0000 or contact us online anytime for a FREE consultation.


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