RIVCO: First-5 grant to fund water-safety programs throughout Riverside County

An infant falls into a pool and no one notices the tiny splash as the child sinks into the water.

In many cases, the scenario could end in tragedy. But thanks to a $198,000 grant, Riverside County health officials are hoping to prevent the potential loss of lives. The funding, which the Riverside County Board of Supervisors recently accepted, will pay the cost of “self-rescue” courses for as many as 50 infants up to 18 months old. The grant is from First 5 Riverside, the Riverside County Children & Family Commission.

On May 3, as part of National Drowning Prevention Month, the Board of Supervisors received an update on countywide drowning prevention efforts by the Riverside County Water Safety Coalition. The coalition includes more than a dozen county departments and related agencies, including First Five Riverside. The coalition’s unveiled its most recent video production, which details the story of Darnay Smith, a Riverside County teen who almost drowned when he was 2-1/2 years old.

Drowning Prevention PSA from RUHS Public Health on Vimeo.

Basic CPR - - Sign up for a CPR class in your area today.
Basic CPR – – Sign up for a CPR class in your area today.

Through the new self-rescue program and under the watchful eye of an instructor, infants become familiar with water and eventually learn techniques to prevent drowning if they happen to fall into a pool or spa. The classes will be offered at various locations in the county. The grant runs through November and is being administered through the Injury Prevention division of Riverside University Health System – Public Health.

It also will pay for water safety workshops for hundreds of caregivers and public health employees who work with families. Funding will also pay for 1,800 water safety tool kits, which include window and door locks, educational materials and whistles for those who are designated as “water watchers.”

“There is no telling how many lives will be saved because of the programs this funding provides,” said Sarah Mack, public health director.

For more information about how to prevent children from drowning, go to http://rivcowatersafety.org.

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