By now, you may be too familiar with the sobering statistics on drowning: Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of children ages 1-14. About ten people die from unintentional drowning every day, and of these, two are children under the age of 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Drowning also has an impact on society. Incidences of drowning will cost society about $100 billion for the next 20 years, according to a white paper from the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
We also know there’s an easy way to help reduce tragic drowning incidences: Teach kids to swim.
Research shows that if a child doesn’t learn to swim before the 3rd grade, they likely never will. Early swimming lessons are critical. The American Red Cross plays a key role in two campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim.
The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™, which takes place Tuesday, June 18 at locations worldwide, will teach kids across the globe how to swim. Waterparks, pools and aquatic facilities around the globe will host swimming lessons simultaneously at 11am ET in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record™.
Last year, 24,873 people participated – a Guinness World Record™ .
The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ is a collaboration between several of the world’s leading water safety and swim training organizations, including the American Red Cross. The event aims to generate awareness about the importance of teaching kids to swim to help reduce tragic drowning incidences.
To find a World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ venue in your area, visit http://www.worldslargestswimminglesson.org.
Step Into Swim
When the National Swimming Pool Foundation launched Step Into Swim™ in 2012, it brought national attention to water safety. The 10-year campaign has an ambitious goal: Teach 1 million people to swim by 2022.
The Step Into Swim™ campaign provides funding to four non-profit organizations that will help achieve that goal of one million more swimmers in the next ten years, including the American Red Cross. The National Swimming Pool Foundation has been matching donations from the aquatics industry and others dollar-for-dollar.
Resources for Parents
Parents can help reduce the risk of accidental drowning deaths by signing their kids up for swim lessons, and by signing up themselves if they don’t know how to swim.
The American Red Cross offers numerous swimming and water safety programs for children, parents and swim coaches. Learn about the six-level Learn-to-Swim program, find out about preschool aquatics programs, or learn about Safety Training for Swim Coaches. To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim programs.
Outdoor swim season will be here soon – what will you do to make this summer a safer one on the water?
About the Author: Gary Hohne is president of Hohne Pools, a Baltimore, Maryland pool company, and a member of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.