Eckerd Kids supports Clearwater’s efforts to prevent child drownings

The City of Clearwater is renewing its efforts to reduce child drownings by again offering $10 swim lessons to anyone in Tampa Bay. The Safety Rock Foundation, a non-profit created to prevent child drownings, recognized the city for its efforts.

“Children cannot be afraid of the water,” declared Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, “they must know how to swim.”

In the past year the city provided swim lessons to some 3,500 children. The mayor was joined by local officials at the city’s indoor pool complex — the Long Center.

Eckerd Kids was also recognized along with the Florida Department of Children and Families.  Eckerd Kids is partnering with DCF and the Children’s Board on a three-year campaign to reduce preventable child deaths by, among other things, sharing lifesaving swim safety techniques.

“Tampa Bay has the fourth highest drowning rate in the state of Florida,” pointed out Brian Bostick, the executive director of Eckerd Community Alternatives in Pinellas and Pasco Counties.

Adding poignancy to the kickoff was the presence of Clearwater mother Stefani Carroll-Gibbs, whose young daughter Samantha drowned in 2011. Carroll-Gibbs urged all parents to watch their children around water and to learn CPR.