Lawmakers take aim at childhood drowning 1

The Legislature has passed a bill to create a commission that would develop a water safety program.

The state Assembly and Senate recently passed a bill designed to reduce childhood drowning.

The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park), would create a state commission that would develop an education program on water safety to prevent childhood drowning.

The bill is sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo).

“This commission will be focusing on getting swimming education to underserved communities, and we will ensure that newly developed programs are inclusive for kids all over New York State,” Pheffer Amato said in a statement. “Regardless of your family’s income and whether you have access to an ocean, lake, or pool, every child should know the basics of water safety.”

It is one of two water safety bills that Pheffer Amato has introduced. The other would require water safety to be taught as a part of school curricula throughout the state.

The American Red Cross says 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning in the U.S., and on average, two of them are under the age of 14, according to Kennedy.

“Statistics show these tragedies disproportionately affect low-income and black and brown communities, and oftentimes are preventable when the right resources and education are made available to families,” Kennedy said in a statement.

This bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Cuomo before it becomes law.

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