Orlando participates in World's Largest Swim Lesson to prevent drownings

DCF reports 25 child drownings so far this year

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Children are enjoying the water to cool off from the Central Florida heat and the city of Orlando is making sure they're prepared to do it safely.

The city is participating in the 10th annual World's Largest Swim Lesson Thursday. It is a global initiative to combat drowning and teach children water safety.

More than 600 locations in more than 20 countries on five continents are taking part in the effort.

[RELATED: 5 ways to prevent drownings, including tip 'no one ever thinks of'Swimming pool safety: Tips that could save someone's life]

News 6 has already reported on several near-drowning cases and deaths this year. 

According to the Department of Children and Families, 25 children have drowned in 2019. Six of those cases were in Central Florida, according to the department.

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said that's too many unnecessary deaths. 

"It's so sad every time that we hear about a young person that has drowned. This is a preventable accident," Sheehan said. "You don't want to wait until tragedy happens. You want to be proactive on this and teach your children how to survival swim."

Denise Moore, the pool supervisor for the city of Orlando, said children are surrounded by water while living in Florida and many are cooling off in pools and at beaches this summer. She said kids need to know how to stay safe.

"There's so much water. This helps them know how to be safe around water, to respect water, not to go by themselves around bodies of water," Moore said. 

The children jumped right into the lesson Thursday. Many, like Finleigh McSurley, said they know this lesson can save lives. 

"So your life is safe. So you don't get hurt underwater," Finleigh said.  

The City of Orlando offers swim lessons at its 11 pools for children 6 months and older, adults and seniors. It costs $40 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. The price includes eight lessons Monday through Thursday for two weeks. Click here for more information.

Moore suggests contacting your local municipality to find swim lessons near you.  

Earlier this year, the Orange County Sheriff's Office posted a video with five tips to prevent drownings, click here to view the video. 

Families can find a licensed swimming instructor near them at infantswim.com.

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