Tampa organizations partner to teach kids how to swim and the importance of water safety

Making sure children know how to swim is important, especially in Florida

Two organizations are coming together to teach kids water lessons. 

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Water safety is important in Florida.

Water safety is important in Florida.

"Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in kids ages 1 to 4 in the state of Florida," said Heidi Blair, YMCA Senior Director Aquatics Camp and Family Programing YMCA. "So very important skill to learn." 

The class is part of the CDC's goal of getting children to understand the importance of water safety.

The classes could be potentially life saving.

The classes could be potentially life-saving.

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"We're so excited to be partnering with the YMCA and the Children's Board of Hillsborough County to teach our kids how to swim," said Dr. Sarah Combs, University Area CDC CEO and Executive Director. "Swimming is so important, especially in Florida, and we want to make sure that every child has the opportunity to learn how to swim." 

Kids in the university area of Tampa are learning valuable lessons. 

"Kids in our community just don't know how to swim, and it can be very, very dangerous living in Florida. And so we want to make sure that we assist those kids in giving them the lessons that they need to know how to navigate the water and know the safety that goes around water," Dr. Combs explained.

There's eight students per instructor.

There are eight students per instructor.

Children from ages 7 to 14 go to the New Tampa YMCA twice a week for the free course. 

"We have eight kids that are learning how to swim from one instructor and that seems to be the perfect ratio to be able to give each kid the attention and care that they need in learning how to swim," Dr. Combs said. 

Children are learning water survival skills that can help save their lives. The CDC hopes to have more free water skill class later this year.