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Florida TaxWatch Releases Every Child a Swimmer Report, Thanks House, Senate Sponsors for Water Safety Legislation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  Today, Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro, joined by Dr. Bill Kent, Chairman of the Board for the International Swimming Hall of Fame, announced the release of the taxpayer research institute’s newest report, Every Child a Swimmer. The briefing outlines the need for swimming lessons and other drowning prevention measures for Florida’s children and commends Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach), Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation), Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs), and Rep. Jim Mooney (R-Islamorada) for their work on Senate Bill 358 and House Bill 1119

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “Florida leads the United States in unintentional drowning deaths for children ages 0-4, and the drowning rate for children ages 5-12 has increased significantly over the last decade. While the lasting emotional impact of those losses is unimaginable and should not be downplayed, the economic consequences are also surprisingly severe. In fact, if all of the 298 drowning deaths that occurred among children five and younger from 2017-2019 – just two years – could have been avoided, the economic risk reduction would be between $3.1-$7.8 billion. On behalf of Florida TaxWatch, thank you to the legislators who are working tirelessly to ensure we do better for the sake of our children and the success of our state.”

International Swimming Hall of Fame Board Chairman Dr. Bill Kent said, “Obviously, I’m very passionate about swimming and have dedicated my life’s work around it, but I’m also a proud father of three grown children, and I can’t even imagine the ultimate grief of losing a child due to a preventable drowning. I’m grateful to the state leaders who are speaking out and taking action to make sure all Florida children know how to swim when they enter kindergarten.”

Senate Bill 358 co-introducer, State Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) said, “I am proud to sponsor this common-sense legislation that could potentially save lives. The benefits of healthy, happy water activities can lead to a lifelong love and joy of the water. Ensuring children learn water safety and swimming at an early age will lock in confidence in these children so they will have a love, and not fear, of water and water related activities.” 

Senate co-introducer, State Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation)said, “Child drowning deaths are both tragic and preventable. It is critically important we help Florida’s families access swimming lessons for young children.”

House Bill 1119 sponsor, State Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs) said, “Parents will worry about a lot of things as their children are growing up, but drowning shouldn’t be one of them. Increasing access to swimming lessons and promoting general water safety practices should be a priority in Florida, allowing us to put an end to these truly avoidable deaths.”

House prime co-sponsor, State Rep. Jim Mooney (R-Islamorada) said, “A recent poll of registered Florida voters showed that 95 percent believe children should learn to swim as a basic life skill, and I couldn’t agree more. We have to do better and teach our sons and daughters about water safety in order to protect them from drowning.”

To read the full Every Child a Swimmer report, click here.


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