When a traumatic incident happens, people come together. When there is a sudden increase in child drownings, a community comes together. In September 2017, the Racine County Fetal, Infant and Child Death Review Team (FICDR) convened community agencies in response to an increase in child drownings over the summer. The meeting was framed around the International Life Saving Federation’s Drowning Prevention Chain to help identify current issues and potential solutions. Three key strategies emerged from the meeting.
The first strategy was to conduct separate teen and parent listening sessions to solicit ideas on ways to spread awareness and to identify barriers to water safety education. Both parents and teens reported access to free swim lessons would be beneficial. With the help of Safe Kids Racine County, Racine Family YMCA, and Racine County, free swim lessons will now be offered this summer at both the new SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center and the Burlington Community Aquatic Center.
The second strategy was to identify unsupervised water access points where increased signage could help educate the public of potential danger. Various law enforcement agencies and fire departments are currently surveying these areas to determine new signage placement.
The final strategy was a social media campaign related to water safety education. The FICDR team is engaging youth to develop messaging for popular social media outlets. The FICDR members will also be exploring how water safety messaging can be added to schools through CPR courses.
Through collaboration between the Racine County FICDR team and community partners, improvements are being made to ultimately make Racine County a safer place for children.