On the verge of public pools opening in the Town of Hempstead for the summer, the authors of “Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim” returned to the Newbridge Road Park Pool in Bellmore to promote pool safety.
Stew and Kim Leonard, authors of the children’s book, have raised over three million dollars to promote water safety. Their efforts were born of a personal cause — their 21-month-old son, Stewie, died in a pool-related accident.
According to the town, nearly 20 children drown on July 4th each year. Hospital emergency room visits regarding pool accidents are also on the rise both locally and nationally. At least 336 children younger than five died in 2018 from drowning, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Leonards met with Supervisor Laura Gillen at the pool to share safety tips. Kim’s number one tip, she said, is to always have a dedicated watcher when any child is in a pool.
After sharing tips, Hempstead lifeguards Erin McCarthy and Ann Marie Hawkins showed attendees how to use a defibrillator, how to perform CPR and other emergency techniques in the event of a drowning.