MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With school out for summer, that means more time at the beach and in the pool. But all that time in and around water leads to a higher risk of drowning for everyone, especially children.
Swimming safety is critical and so are swimming lessons.
To make the point, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz made stop at the Swim Gym Miami JCC as part of the USA Swimming Foundation’ Make a Splash Tour. With her were a couple of guys that know a thing or two about swimming – former Olympic Gold medalists Cullen Jones and Rowdy Gaines, who are also ambassadors for the foundation.
A new study by the foundation found a 5-percent to 10-percent increase in swimming ability among kids compared to its findings in 2010.
However, the group notes, there’s still work to be done. Drowning is still the leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 4 and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under 14.
Sixty-four percent of African-American children and 45 percent of Hispanic children in the U.S. do not know how to swim, according to the foundation.
They say African-American children are five and half times more likely to drown than white children.
From 2009 to present, there have been 41 fatal drownings among children under the age of 5 in Broward County, of which half were African-Americans. From 2012 to 2014, there were 119 deaths as a result of drowning in Miami-Dade County.
One of the goals of the foundation’s Make a Splash initiative is to give all children the opportunity to learn to swim with formalized swim lessons which can reduce their risk of drowning by nearly 90 percent.
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