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PITTSBURGH, PA (June 21, 2021) -- Members from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Citiparks, and the Office of Community Health and Safety will be distributing youth-sized personal flotation devices (life vests) and safe swimming information packets to youth and parents at three of the City’s summer lunch grab-and-go locations on Wednesday, June 23.
The Safe Swim initiative, led by EMS, aims to increase swimming and water safety throughout the City of Pittsburgh. The initiative began last summer in response to the widespread closures of community pools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the possibility of children and youth swimming in less-supervised settings, such as backyard pools or open water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after motor vehicle crashes, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1-14. There is an additional racial disparity, as Black children ages 10-14 years drown at rates 7.6 times higher than other children.
Thanks to a donation of youth-sized personal flotation devices from Allegheny Health Network and Highmark, the initiative will provide the free life vests and educational materials to encourage children and parents to adopt safe swimming practices this summer.
The life vests will be available at the Mellon, Beechview, and Troy Hill spray parks from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.