CHICAGO – In Illinois, drowning is one of the leading causes of death and serious injury for young children, and under new water safety legislation introduced by state Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, D-Chicago, children will learn critical skills to stay safe while in the water.
“Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years old, and this danger doesn’t go away as they get older unless we intervene and provide comprehensive water safety education like the one required under this new water safety legislation,” Delgado said. “Brain damage and lifelong debilitating disabilities due to almost drowning are unfortunately all too common. The time to act and save lives is now.”
Delgado’s House Bill 2104 amends the School Code to require water safety education for students in kindergarten through 6th grade. Schools and curriculum creators can draw on the American Red Cross or other certified educational materials. In 2022, Governor Pritzker designated May as Drowning Prevention Month. This legislation will continue in the Governor’s work to prevent further heartache.
Among the bill’s supporters was Dave Benjamin from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, an organization dedicated to educating young people on the importance of water safety.
“Most kids know the fire survival strategy ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll’ even though they don’t play with fire. Most kids play in water, yet very few people know a drowning survival strategy. We want to change this narrative,” Benjamin said. “Drowning is a neglected public health issue, and I am proud to work with Representative Delgado on making this a thing of the past.”
House Bill 2104 continues on to the floor of the House for a full vote.
For more information about the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 708-903-0166.