May is National Water Safety Month

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ECCAC monthly focus on prevention/awareness programs

The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Centers (ECCAC) in Okaloosa and Walton Counties have monthly prevention and awareness programs for the health and safety of children. Awareness, followed by prevention, are the keys to success. May is National Water Safety Month. Statistics show that Florida is ranked the highest in the country for unintentional drowning deaths of children ages 1 – 4. Accordingly, Governor Desantis has also proclaimed May as Water Safety Month in the state of Florida. The top 10 water safety tips are: 1. Always supervise children in and around water. 2. Never swim alone. 3. Don’t dive or jump into water you can’t see through. 4. Never turn your back to the ocean. 5. Don’t depend on floating toys to keep you safe. 6. Children and non-swimmers should always wear life jackets in open water. 7. Never play or swim near drains or suction fittings and always dive feet first. 8. Swim only in designated swim areas. 9. Don’t leave toys or other floatables in an unsupervised pool area. 10. Learn to swim.

“Living in Florida makes water safety of critical importance, especially for children,” said Jasie Landeros, who heads up the prevention/awareness department as ECCAC’s Outreach Program Manager. “Young children can drown in as little as 1” of water, which makes it important to keep them within an arm’s reach of an adult at all times, and for the adult to be free of all distractions. Visit www.SafeKids.org for more ways to be safe around water. I’m A Safe Swimmer Pledge can also be taken by going on-line to www.NWSM.PHTA.org.”

ECCAC, in its 21st year of operation this year, operates centers in Niceville and DeFuniak Springs. They have provided over 150,000 services at no cost to more than 15,000 children experiencing abuse, abandonment or neglect to include mental health therapy, crisis intervention, referrals to other community providers, interviews and medicals.

For further information, visit www.eccac.org, or email or call Jasie Landeros at Jasie@eccac.org, 850-833-9237, Ext. 267. If abuse is suspected, call the anonymous Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.

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