Summer: that time of year we all look forward to, filled with vacations, time off from school, outings with the kids and all around FUN. For most of us this will include activities in or around the water such as pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, and water parks. Many vacations are taken to a water oriented place, leaving us easy access to cooling off and relaxing on a hot Summers day.
All of this enjoyment however, can turn tragic quickly and unfortunately, for far too many when a child drowns. This is a story I have heard more times than I care to count and sadly, it is often preventable.
For the past 30 years, I have dedicated my life to preventing such tragedies by providing swim lessons to thousands of children through my Swim School, Aquatic Adventures. Every year I hear of drowning incidents and while it breaks my heart; I am also amazed at the number of people who don’t think that learning to swim should be a top priority for their children. As the mother of 4, I felt it was my duty to teach my children to swim at an early age. It was a top priority, just as I taught them how to look both ways before crossing the street, always wear a seatbelt, not to go with strangers, and all the other safety skills we teach our children. I wanted my children to know how to understand danger and stay safe.
First, let’s talk about the statistics. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-14 and children ages 1-4 are at highest risk of drowning. Below are just a few more statistics every parent should know.
• Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
• More than 1 in 5 fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14 (Source: CDC).
• 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 (Source: Present P. Child Drowning study).
• Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children aged one to four years. (Source: Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2009)
If I have not yet convinced you, swimming lessons are important and valuable, let me outline some of the benefits to being a good swimmer.
• Swimming is a skill they will use for the rest of their lives.
• Swimming provides a fun way for kids to get and stay fit, helping to prevent
• Swimming improves stamina, strength, flexibility and balance.
• Swimming improves emotional health and well being.
• Swimming provides opportunities for children with disabilities who may not be able to participate in other sports.
• Knowing how to swim provides opportunities for many fun activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, water skiing, surfing, and more.
• Knowing how to swim can provide career opportunities in the Military, Coast Guard, Marine biology and related Marine fields, Aquatics management, teaching, coaching and more.
• Knowing how to swim can save your life.
These are just a few of the benefits knowing how to swim can provide. As a parent, I cannot imagine not providing my children with such valuable life skills. As a person, I cannot imagine how many things I would never have done, had I not been able to swim. So, take a moment and consider the value and importance of swimming lessons and sign your kids up today!
Mary Kerr, Aquatic Adventures