May Begins National Water Safety Awareness Month
The beginning of May marks the start of National Water Safety Awareness Month and the USA Swimming Foundation is eager to raise public awareness on drowning prevention. The Foundation created Make a Splash in 2007, which is a national child-focused, water-safety initiative aimed to provide every child the opportunity to learn to swim.
“Make a Splash has reached more than 1.8 million children, but there is still more work to be done,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “With pools around the country opening up in just a few weeks, this is an excellent time to spread awareness about our mission of saving lives by teaching kids to swim and be safe around the water during National Water Safety Month.”
The USA Swimming Foundation utilizes a robust Local Partner program of learn-to-swim providers, a national awareness campaign, and an affiliate network of aquatic industry partners in an effort to raise water safety awareness. The USA Swimming Foundation knows that participation in formal swimming lessons could reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88 percent (Source: Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2009). For this reason, they created a Local Partner program comprised of learn-to-swim programs across the nation that provides communities with low-cost lessons. The Local Partners also spread water safety awareness and the importance of learning to swim to their communities. The cooperative efforts of the aquatic industry partners help equip families with access to lessons and increase awareness nationwide.
Find swimming lessons near you or find out how you can get involved at MakeaSplash.org.
Sobering Drowning Statistics
Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. Drowning is also a silent killer—most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study.
Furthermore, 70 percent of African American and Hispanic/Latino children have low or no swimming ability, and only 13 percent of kids who come from a non-swimming household will ever learn to swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. African American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports.