COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the swimming season here, the USA Swimming Foundation kicks off National Water Safety Month with personal water safety tips from six Olympic gold medalists. These tips will help parents and guardians keep their children safer in the water this season.
Drowning claims the lives of approximately 3,500 people per year, with nearly 25 percent being children under the age of 14. The problem is particularly daunting in ethnically-diverse communities, where the drowning rate is almost three times the national average. In those populations, 70 percent of African-American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children do not know how to swim, according to research by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis.
The USA Swimming Foundation is at the forefront of water safety with its mission to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim – regardless of race, gender or financial circumstances. The USA Swimming Foundation has set a goal to provide 1 million swim lessons to children annually through its local partner network by December 31, 2017.
“Learning to swim is the surest way to being safer in the water,” said Debbie Hesse, USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director. “In the US, 10 people drown a day but drownings are preventable. Educating the public with some helpful tips from our ambassadors will help adults and children to be safer in and around the water.”
USA Swimming Foundation ambassadors and Olympic medalists Missy Franklin, Cullen Jones, Jessica Hardy, Mel Stewart, Nathan Adrian and Jason Lezak are proud to share the following tips about safe water practices:
- “It’s not always easy for someone who is not comfortable in the water to take a swimming lesson. Be sure not to force it but give yourself the time that you or your child needs to be comfortable in the water. Find an instructor that’s right for you – everyone has a different style so find one that’s the best fit for you!” – Missy Franklin, four-time Olympic medalist
- “Reach, Don’t go… Don’t jump in to save someone: Either reach out to help them or get something to help them get out of the water, don’t go in.” – Cullen Jones, four-time Olympic medalist
- “Drowning can be a silent death. You’d rather be overly cautious when seeing someone in distress while swimming.” – Jessica Hardy, two-time Olympic medalist
- “Learn CPR. Just do it. It’s not difficult to learn and it could save your child’s life.” – Mel Stewart, three-time Olympic medalist
- “There is no such thing as being ‘water safe.’ No matter how strong a swimmer your child might be, it’s important for parents to stay present and know where their child is while in the water.” – Missy Franklin, four-time Olympic medalist
- “Never swim alone. No matter how confident you are as a swimmer you should always have someone with you or watching you when you enter the water.” – Nathan Adrian, three-time Olympic medalist
- “When a child learns to swim they become safer in the water but still need to be watched. Accidents happen to even world class swimmers so never assume your child is safe.” – Jason Lezak, four-time Olympic medalist
- “If you’re a parent or guardian in a pool environment, turn your phone off and set it down. You cannot talk, text or surf the web. All too often, you lose sense of time when engaged with technology, time when your child could be in danger and in need of your help.” – Mel Stewart, three-time Olympic medalist
- “Identify your risks when you are around water and learn how to reduce those risks. Putting up a fence around a backyard pool is a great way to reduce risks of drowning at home.” – Jason Lezak, four-time Olympic medalist
- “A child is never entirely water safe. They can only get safe-ER. Enrolling them in swimming lessons will help, but don’t take your eyes off of your child while swimming.” – Jessica Hardy, two-time Olympic medalist
With more than 750 ‘Make a Splash’ local providers across the country, the USA Swimming Foundation has provided swim lessons for almost 4 million children nationwide and has awarded over $4 million dollars to help fund learn-to-swim programs across the country.
Swimming news courtesy of USA Swimming.