Autistic children are 160 times more likely than their peers to drown; local nonprofit trying to change this statistic

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Great Strides for Children, a local nonprofit that helps improve the quality of life for children with special needs, hopes to reduce the risk of drowning in children with autism.

According to the Red Cross, children with autism spectrum disorders are 160 times more likely to experience non-fatal and fatal drowning than their peers.

The nonprofit is building 300 drowning prevention safety kits that will go to children under 12 with autism.

From Monday, families can pick up a free kit at any Great Strides store.

Great Strides Rehabilitation executive director John Edenfield said teens with special needs will help build each kit.

“Inside the kit is three things, an information sheet that parents can learn about what they can do around their home to help prevent drowning,” Edenfield said. “The water watch card that an adult will carry to designate someone as a supervising adult when kids are around water, and then the third thing in the kit are door alarms.”

Edenfield said he knows firsthand how devastating drownings are because he works every day with children and families who have been affected by tragic events.

“We have been touched by several families of children who have come to our center and come to unfortunate incidents where perhaps the mother has gone to run a bath for the child and within minutes that child has been able to come out from the house and drown in a pond or drown in a swimming pool,” Edenfield said.

These devastating stories are the inspiration behind these drowning prevention kits.

“Life jackets will not be included in the drowning prevention kit, but if you need one you can order one through the life jacket loaner program,” he said. “All you have to do is call Great Strides. If there’s one thing we can do to prevent a death…we’ve decided we want to do it.

For more information on the kits, you can visit the association’s website.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.

Origin of message: 4jax News

Leave a Comment