Free swim lessons in area counties

Lessons available in 3 Northeast Florida counties

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Swim lessons are now being offered in two more Northeast Florida counties.  They are available for children who are 4 years old or older and live in Nassau and Putnam counties.

To learn details about how to qualify for the lessons in Nassau County, call the Fernandina Beach Rec Center at 310-3358.  In Putnam county, you can dial 386-329-1268.

Duval County also offers 1,500 free swim lessons to children of active duty military or families who otherwise would not be able to afford lessons for their children.  It's part of the City of Jacksonville's Waterproof Jacksonville program.  To download the application for the Duval County lessons click here.

Keep in mind, each year enough children drown in Florida to fill three preschool classrooms and even more are rushed to the hospital with permanent neurological damage from nearly drowning.  Safe Kids Northeast Florida suggests parents and caregivers follow the "Safer 3:" Safer Kids, Safer Response and Safer Water:

Safer Kids means ensuring constant adult supervision and never allowing a child to be unattended; developing swim skills through on-going and qualified instruction; learning and practicing proper behavior in and around the water.

Safer Response means to learn and renew CPR, first-aid and rescue techniques through on-going courses; keep an emergency action plan, rescue equipment and phone by the pool at all times. Be prepared.

Safer Water means installing, maintaining and utilizing proper fencing, self-closing gates and latches,pool and spa covers, pool alarms and additional safety equipment to protect the swimming perimeter. No barrier to the water is 100% effective, so use multiple layers of protection to keep young children from entering the water when you're not watching.

Safe Kids Northeast Florida will host a water safety fair this Saturday, May 17th from 9:30- 1pm at the Jacksonville Zoo in the splash park. There will be several vendors offering free hand outs about water safety.  There's a raffle too to win various prizes.  Mayor Brown is expected to attend at 12:30.  

Think it won't happen to your child? 

Last Saturday, two young boys, cousins, drowned in Lakeland.  18-month-old Silas Lugo-Walsh and his 2-year-old cousin Jayvien Watkins were found face down in their grandparents' pool.  They had been missing for 10-15 minutes when worried relatives discovered them in the water.

On May 5th, A 5-year-old boy died when he managed to get into a backyard pool in St. Johns County.  It happened in a subdivision at the World Golf Village.

On the same day, a 3-year-old in Putnam county was found unresponsive in a pool.  The child was revived and rushed to the hospital.

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