New statistics from the Florida Department of Children and Families show that the state recorded a record number of drownings in 2021.
According to the most recent findings, Florida saw a record 98 drownings in 2021, with an average age of 3, while a disproportionate number of the deaths were minorities.
In some states the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risk of drownings, as lifeguard shortages have hit public pools and beaches. Young swimmers have also had less access to swim lessons over the past two years as a result of the pandemic.
In June of last year, the YMCA launched a renewed campaign to make swimming lessons accessible for all.
“We teach the most swim lessons nationwide. We’ve had a huge impact on those families that have small kids that are walking around their backyard pools,” Eric Tucker, president and CEO of the Arlington-Mansfield YMCA, told the Dallas NBC affiliate back in June.
“Sometimes people and sometimes kids can build some confidence that might not be merited. They’re not quite ready yet. They don’t understand how deep water is and they don’t know how to use their bodies or anything like that. That’s why the YMCA is here to help alleviate that issue,” said Tucker.