Learning to Swim is a Public Health Need
The United States Swim School Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 that was developed to assist the swim instruction industry to help maintain high ethical and professional standards in our industry and to provide opportunities for learning and sharing.
Learning to swim is a life-or-death skill, essential for every child. Formal swim lessons between ages 1 and 4 can help reduce the risk of drowning by 88% according to a study conducted in 2009. Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4 and a leading cause for young people up to 14 years of age. We believe drowning to be at an even higher risk now as many children’s activities remain closed. This gives children more time to find a body of water such as a backyard pool, neighbor’s pool, community pool, inflatable pool, sink, toilet, filled bathtub, bucket, ditches filled with rainwater, ocean, lakes, and rivers. A young child can drown in less than 2 inches of water.
Meanwhile, parents have even more distractions than ever, including remote working while children are home. This leaves caregivers unable to supervise children at all times. Even before this pandemic, 9 out of 10 child related drowning deaths happened when a caregiver was supervising. 69% of children who drowned were not expected to be at or in the pool, yet they were found in the water and 77% of drowning victims had been out of sight for less than five minutes.
Private swim schools across the country educate over 250,000 children per week to learn to swim and unlike public pools, our programs are controlled learning environments. We understand that modifications will need to be put in place as swim schools/learn-to-swim programs reopen. We will cover the topic of modifications on a future post.
Knowing how to swim is something everyone should learn how to do. It can bring you a lifetime of enjoyment, and could quite possibly save your life.
 Association Between Swimming Lessons and Drowning in Childhood, A Case-Control Study: Ruth Brenner, et al., 2009 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151293/
 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) https://www.momsteam.com/sports/swimming/safety/grim-statistics-on-child-drownings