Water Safety Would Be Part of School Curriculum Under Bill

What to Know

  • In addition to water safety, the bill focuses on comprehensive health education.

  • Supporters of the bill feel it is a necessary step toward preventing drowning deaths across the state.

  • Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths of children ages 1-4, according to the Florida Department of Health.

A South Florida senator wants to make water safety education a priority in the public school system.

Under SB 608, students would learn what to do if caught in a rip current, the importance of formal swimming lessons, the proper use of flotation devices and other skills related to water safety. The lessons would be folded into the health education curriculum for students in grades K-12 and would vary depending on students’ ages.

Sen. Jason Pizzo, of District 38, filed the bill Tuesday. It complements a previous measure (HB 325) introduced by Dem. James Bush III in the House.

In addition to water safety, the bill focuses on comprehensive health education “that addresses concepts of community health; consumer health; environmental health; [and] family life,” the bill reads.

Supporters of the bill feel it is a necessary step toward preventing drowning deaths across the state. Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths of children ages 1-4, according to the Florida Department of Health.

According to the department, Florida “had the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation for children ages 1-4 years with a drowning rate of 7.54 per 100,000 population” in 2013.

WPTV reports that 52 children have died from drowning in the state this year, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

If passed, the bill would take effect in July 2020.

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