Collier County Commission Proclamation

Collier County Commission Proclamation
(A speech by Dr. C. Todd Vedder, NCH Healthcare System)
October 26th, 2010 - Thank you Commissioner Coletta for giving us this proclamation opportunity. Thanks to everyone for taking time away from an early voting opportunity and from their busy schedules to attend the unveiling of our Safe and Healthy Children's Coalition.

The groundswell of grassroots support that emb odies our coalition really came about on account of one substance that ties us all together – water. As a pediatrician, I am trying to get my patients to drink more of it instead of sugar laden juices and sodas; dentists would be even more overwhelmed with tooth decay if fluoride wasn't in it; it puts out fires; breeds infection bearing mosquitoes; and fills the countless pools/lakes and gulf that serves as an excellent source of exercise.

But it is water's ability to literally take your breath away that has motivated our coalition to develop a program to stem the tide of drownings in our area. Since 2004, Drowning has been the leading external cause of death for Collier County children 1-4 years of age. Even this past summer, drowning was in the local headlines way too often.

There are very few moments in our educational careers where we can say we learned a life saving skill. We want drowning prevention to be one of those moments, especially for the 3-5 year olds enrolled in our daycares and preschools. This has been done with great success in Broward County for the past 10 years where every preschooler and kindergartener in their public schools has an opportunity receive drowning prevention education in the classroom from Red Cross volunteers and at the poolside from certified instructors at facilities such as the YMCA, Parks and Rec; Boys and Girls Club. No child who has taken part of this program has been drowning victim

What's the secret of success for the folks in Broward overwhelming support from their School Board and local government? Our coalition is excited about building a similarly strong partnership with our elected officials to develop our own drowning prevention initiative as well as others that will address the major safety and health issues adversely impacting Collier youth. The agencies represented in this room, this audience today already is committed to the safety and well being of children in Collier, but there are some issues where if we work in a synergistic rather than parallel fashion we can accomplish much more. We must act so no more children in Collier County succumb to a statistical byline or sobering headline. This is our dream…this is our mission. Thank you.
C. Todd Vedder, MD, FAAP
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
NCH Healthcare System