On Wednesday, First 5 commissions from both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties held a splash day event at the Riverside City and County YMCA, offering free swim lessons and water safety resources. The event was a big success according to First 5 representatives. Here are the details from First 5's Bonnie Woodrome:
Dozens of children and their caregivers or parents attended Summer's Last Splash, a special event stressing the importance of practicing drowning prevention strategies and water safety techniques year-round.
The public education event was presented by First 5 Commissions in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in partnership with The Y of Riverside City and County, 2-1-1, Riverside County Injury Prevention Services, Safe Kids Inland Empire and the San Bernardino County Drowning Prevention Network.
"Drowning is among the leading causes of death of California children under 5," said Harry Freedman, executive director of First 5 Riverside. "Proposition 10 is designed to help establish a strong foundation for young children's future success in school and life. Keeping children healthy and safe is clearly an essential contributor to this goal."
This year, there have been 50 percent less fatalities and 46 percent less near-drownings or submersions than last year among children age 5 and under in Riverside County so far. In San Bernardino County, there have been 43 percent less drownings and approximately 25 percent less submersion incidents.
San Bernardino County has had four drowning and 24 submersions in 2010. Riverside County has had 5 drownings and 38 submersions. Most involved pools.
Continued deaths and injuries in Riverside and San Bernardino counties demonstrate the need for ongoing community awareness. Wednesday, families participated in free parent/child swim lessons, met special guest-Stewie the Duck and received information on how to be water safe all year!
Kim Patrick of SafeKids Inland Empire also spoke of her loss of her two year old son in 1999 to a drowning. Patrick reinforced the need for lessons in CPR and swimming for the family and the importance of active adult supervision.
"If my son had taken swim lessons or if I had known CPR, he might have still been here today," Patrick said.
Visit www.first5safety.org for tips and information or call 2-1-1 for swim or CPR classes.