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Important Information from British Swim School: Know the facts to keep your loved ones safe from drowning!

Our mission at British Swim School is to reduce the staggering number of drowning deaths each year, especially amongst young children.

We do this by providing water safety and swim lessons, but also by educating the community about the dangers of drowning and how to prevent it. The first step of safety is being aware of the dangers, and to know what needs to be done.

Did you know?

  • Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1-4. (Center for Disease Control), and the number two cause for 5-18.
  • The equivalent of 12 school buses full of kids drown every year in the US alone.
  • Drownings or near-drownings can happen to anyone.
  • Most drownings are silent.
  • Globally, the highest drowning rates are among children 1-4 years, followed by children 5-9 years (WHO)
  • African American children in the US drown are drowning at rates 5.5 times higher than the white population (CDC).
  • Drowning can occur in less than 20 seconds.
  • A child can drown in less than one inch of water. (CDC)
  • Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75% are missing from sight for five minutes or less. (Orange County, CA Fire Authority)
  • The American Red Cross reports that only 56% of adults who say they can swim are able to perform the five critical water safety skills.
  • According to 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics data, most children over the age of one may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction.

Myths of Water Safety:

“My child is safe as long as she is wearing floats or water wings”

Why this is a myth:

  • Floats and water wings cause a false confidence for children. They start to gain comfort in water and may return to the pool without the flotation device.
  • Floats and water wings are easily and quickly removed by children.
  • Floats and water wings do not enforce proper swim techniques and can lead to poor muscle memory if the child is learning to swim.
  • They should NEVER be a substitute for proper survival skills.

“I will be able to hear a struggle if there’s a problem. It’s ok to read my book while the kids play in the pool.”

Why this is a myth:

  • Drowning is silent! It’s not like it’s portrayed in television or movies where a child is splashing and screaming for help.
  • Drowning is fast and can happen in less than one minute.

“The kiddie pool is safe.”

Why this is a myth:

  • Drownings can occur in less than two inches water. No body of water should be considered safe.
  • Parents should always keep a close eye on children when in any kind of backyard or kiddie pool.

“My kids don’t really need swim lessons because I am always watching.”

Why this is a myth:

  • Nearly 70% of drownings for kids ages 4 and under happen during “non-swim” times. For example, a child falls in a pool, pond or lake.
  • Proper swim lessons can reduce drowning by up to 88% and can equip kids with skills to survive water accidents

“You don’t really have to worry about kids drowning when there are lots of people around.”

Why this is a myth:

  • Since drowning is silent, it is very possible for a child to drown in a crowded pool without someone noticing.
  • There is no safety in numbers when it comes to drowning, so parents should always appoint a “water watcher” who keeps two, undistracted eyes on kids at all times. That means no cell phones or alcohol.

Safety Advice:

  • Caregivers should know how to swim and know CPR.
  • Install self-closing/self-latching gates and child proof locks
  • Supervision without distraction is one of the keys to help prevent drowning. Assign an adult “ON GUARD: when around or near water.
  • Complete four-sided isolation fencing could prevent 50-90% of child related drowning events.
  • Wear a life jacket around open water, even if you know how to swim.

Recommended Prevention Tips:

  • Learn and practice lifesaving skills. Know the basics of swimming (floating, moving through water), CPR and First Aid.
  • When children are swimming, there should always be a Water Watcher on duty, an adult whose only job is to watch the pool. No talking on the phone, playing cards, or reading a book!
  • Make sure a phone is charged and available in case of an emergency.
  • Install a four-sided isolation fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around backyard swimming pools.
  • Install a pool alarm.
  • If a child goes missing in or around the house, even in cold weather, always check the pool first.
  • Never leave water in buckets, wading pools, or inflatable pools.
  • Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties”; they are not a substitute for approved life vests and often give children and parents a false sense of security.
  • Swim lessons should not be seen as “drown proofing” but they do help.
  • Know the signs of drowning for yourself and others.
  • If you are getting into difficulties in the water, rest by floating.

Organized Swim Lessons reduce the chance of drownings by 88% (CDC). Make sure your child is water-safe!

Click HERE to find a pool location near you.



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