Learning drowning prevention to help save lives

Published: July 6, 2022 7:43 PM EDT
Updated: July 7, 2022 5:01 AM EDT

The children who drowned on the Fourth of July at Lake Como on the FGCU campus were 7 and 12 years old.

A statement from the university on Wednesday said Lake Como is not meant for public use and that the waterfront has been closed since May. Learning drowning prevention is an important skill for a lot of people.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said there is strong evidence that swimming lessons for kids as young as 1 year old can save lives. Drowning is the second-biggest killer of kids ages 1 to 14. Only car crashes kill more children.

Paula Digrigoli runs the NCH Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County. “Our heart breaks every time that we hear stories about these because it’s just another family that is completely destroyed,” Digrigoli said. Digrigoli mentioned her group has more than 70 agencies working together to prevent drownings.

Digrigoli stresses the need for four layers of protection.

  1. Use barriers to prevent children from wandering into a pool or lake.
  2. Supervise, an adult must be watching at all times.
  3. Learn how to swim.
  4. For adults to know how to respond or do CPR if needed.

“I think that the main message to the families and anyone watching this story is that it can happen to the best parents and it has happened to the best parents,” Digrigoli said. “So for us to believe that is not going to happen to us is not reality.”

Click here if you’re someone who needs to teach your child how to swim or you want to learn how to do CPR.