DCF Newsroom

For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2014

Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, (850) 717-4450
John Harrell, DCF Northeast Region Communications Director, 904-485-9675

DCF Launches Second Phase of Water Safety Campaign
Campaign urges parents and caregivers to learn CPR in case of an emergency

TALLAHASSEE—The Department of Children and Families (DCF) launched the second phase of its Water Safety Campaign today with a press conference at the Jacksonville Dupont Family YMCA in partnership with the Florida Department of Health (DOH), the YMCA, the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association (AHA). Since the start of this year, 40 alleged child drownings have been called into the Florida Abuse Hotline.

The second phase of the Water Safety Campaign stresses the importance of CPR training for adults and age appropriate children to help prevent drowning deaths. Drowning is among the leading causes of death of children in Florida ages 1-4.

“While we never want to have to use CPR on our children, it’s important to be prepared to act in case of an emergency,” DCF Interim Secretary Carroll said. “Knowing what to do in an emergency situation can help prevent a tragedy, but no measure is more important than close supervision.”

When a child stops breathing, there is a small window of time in which resuscitation may occur. A water watcher who knows CPR can act quickly in an emergency and give EMTs a better chance to save a life. The campaign directs parents and caregivers to CPR classes and resources from the YMCA, Red Cross and AHA.

"Keeping Florida's children safe around water means that adults watch them closely, ensure appropriate barriers around water, and know CPR," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "I encourage all families to take these steps for the health and safety of all children in Florida."

The first phase of the campaign was launched with the message to keep “Eyes on the Kids,” and urges parents and caregivers to avoid any distraction that could take focus away from children when they’re swimming or near water. It also reminded parents about the importance of teaching children to swim. The campaign directed parents to resources to find free or low cost swimming lessons and CPR classes at local YMCAs, city facilities and swim schools.

“It only takes a moment,” Skip Cramer, Chair of Volunteers for the American Red Cross of North Florida said. “It’s important for anyone watching children who are in or around water to understand the importance of learning water safety and CPR.”
High resolution images, two drowning prevention PSAs and additional resources for media are available for distribution by visiting www.myflfamilies.com/watersafety.

For more information on drowning prevention and statistics visit www.waterprooffl.com.

To learn more about CPR or find a CPR certification course, visit www.myflfamilies.com/watersafety or call 2-1-1 to learn about resources in your local area.