Children with autism are 160 times more likely to drown than their peers; local nonprofit trying to change this statistic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Great Strides for Children, a local nonprofit that helps improve the lives of 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 nonfatal and fatal drowning than their peers.

The non-profit organization is building 300 drowning prevention safety kits that go to children under 12 with autism.

Beginning Monday, families can pick up a free kit at any Great Strides location.

Great Strides Rehabilitation chief executive John Edenfield said special needs teenagers will help build each kit.

“There are three things in the kit, an information sheet that parents can use to learn what they can do around their home to prevent drowning,” Edenfield said. “The water watcher card that an adult will carry to designate someone to be the supervising adult when children are near water, and the third thing in the kit is door alarms.”

Edenfield said he knows firsthand how devastating drowning is because he works every day with children and families affected by tragic events.

“We were touched by several families with children who came to our center and had unfortunate incidents where perhaps the mother poured the child a bath and within a few minutes the child could leave the house drowning in a pond or drowning in a pool ‘ Edenfield said.

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

“Life jackets are not included in the drowning prevention kit, but if you need one you can order one through the life jacket rental program,” he said. “All you have to do is call Great Strides. If there’s one thing we can do to prevent a fatality, then we’ve decided we’re going to do it.”

For more information about the kits, visit the nonprofit’s website.

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Post Source: News 4jax

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